UK sees energy-from-waste surge

A series of on-site energy-from-waste developments have been announced in the UK recently.

Prosiect Gwyrdd, a joint initiative between five south Wales councils which will look at energy from municipal waste is to receive extra government funding of up to à‚£7.8 million ($16 million) in a full year of operation, depending on the final costs of the project.

Announcing the funding Environment, Sustainability & Housing Minister Jane Davidson said: ‘We must recycle or compost as much waste as possible and maximize the benefits of the renewable energy that can be produced from source separated food waste and treatment of residual waste. We will be working with local authority consortia across Wales to develop similar facilities in other areas to deal with residual waste and these important projects will also attract a similar level of support.’

The investment paves the way for the next generation recycling plant in South East Wales that will generate energy from waste from the five boroughs, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouth, Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.
Davidson noted that European targets for waste mean a new approach is needed, saying: ‘By 2010, no more than 75% of the amount of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995 can be land filled. By 2013 only 50% can be land filled.’

In related news, Covanta Energy is seeking to build a new energy from waste plant near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

The new facility – known as Brig y Cwm – will be located on low lying land near to Miller Argent (South Wales) Ltd Cwmbargoed disposal point. It will be alongside the existing railway line that will link it to a number of rail operated waste transfer stations to be created across Wales, enabling the waste to be transported by rail. This will greatly reduce the need for road haulage of waste.

Covanta Energy is also investigating the possibility that people and businesses in neighbouring communities could have the opportunity to buy electricity at significantly below market rates, and that lower cost energy and waste heat can be made available to attract other new investors to the area.

The plant will take approximately 750,000 tonnes of waste a year and generate about 70 MWe. Most of the waste will be collected at a number of locations in Wales and delivered to the Brig y Cwm site by rail in sealed containers.

The plant will be financed, built, owned and operated by Covanta Energy and will present no financial risk to local authorities. The company is preparing a planning application which it intends to submit in late 2009 and, subject to planning approval, it is intended that the plant be operational by 2013-2014.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Reclaim Resources Ltd has signed an investment and partnership deal worth à‚£5 million ($US10 million) with private cleantech investors James Buchan and Paul Barratt.

As part of the deal, a new company is to be established that will focus on the manufacture of Reclaim’s Vantage Waste Processor – a household waste-to-energy solution.

The device reduces raw, unsorted household rubbish by up to 60% using transforming it into biomass ready for conversion into a range of energy resources including electricity and bio-ethanol. The system uses ‘thermal hydration’ – processing and sanitizing waste material through a continuous feed rotating stainless steel chamber.

Based in Latvia, Reclaim will have a 25% interest in the new company.

Barratt commented: ‘Alternative energy sources are currently a key priority for many countries across the globe and existing waste management solutions are compounding current issues of global warming and toxic waste. A number of the solutions that are being proposed have significant drawbacks and offer very little real benefit. In Reclaim Resources, however, we believe we have found a system that will have a real impact on waste management.’

Finally, a joint venture between United Utilities and Interserve is to build a thermal conversion gasification facility to generate energy from waste in Derbyshire, using Energos technology.

The energy-from-waste plant is part of a proposed integrated waste treatment facility for Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council, which have appointed the joint venture to build the facility and operate it for 27 years.

The proposed gasification plant will export some 8 MW of electricity to the grid and will process 140,000 tonnes of waste produced from Derbyshire and Derby City.

Nick Dawber, managing director of Energos, part of ENER-G, said: ‘Recycling is the backbone of any waste management strategy and the proposed Derbyshire gasification plant would only handle the leftover, residual waste that could not be processed through the facility’s recycling operation. This is a community-sized solution to responsibly dealing with local waste.’

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