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Biffa signs £1bn contract to build huge MBT plant

Biffa has signed a £1bn contract with West Sussex County Council to build a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility, which will divert 80% of the area’s non-recycled waste away from landfill.

The plant, which will be capable of processing 327,000 tonnes of waste each year, received planning consent in April this year and will be built near Horsham next to Biffa’s Brookhurst Wood landfill site.

Biffa environment and external affairs director David Savory said: “Biffa is delighted to embark upon this 25-year partnership with West Sussex County Council to help achieve its ambition to be an innovator in recycling and resource management. We will begin work on the MBT facility this summer and when operational in 2013 the facility will divert up to 80% of West Sussex’s residual waste away from landfill and use it as a resource to produce renewable energy.”

The MBT facility will be made up of an integrated mechanical sorting plant and an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant.  The AD plant will treat the biodegradable fraction separated out by the MBT facility and biogas produced from this will be used to generate energy and may be used as vehicle fuel in future. The AD facility will be capable of generating 3.5MW of renewable energy – enough to power 7,000 homes. Biffa is currently in discussions with a national house builder to use the AD- produced digestate as a fuel for a combined heat and power facility, which is being constructed as part of a new eco-housing development in the county.

Refuse derived fuel (RDF) will also be produced by the MBT plant. Subject to joint-research into finding a long-term sustainable market for the RDF, it will either be sent to a third party or used at a thermal treatment facility, which could be built at the Brookhurst Wood site.

West Sussex currently has a 42% recycling rate. County Council cabinet member for environment and economy Deborah Urquhart said: “Reaching this milestone is the result of many years of extensive consultation with residents and stakeholders.
“We are continuing to work with the community and Biffa to ensure that as much non-recyclable waste as possible is turned into a valuable resource and that outputs from the facility are utilised in the most financial and resource efficient way.”

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