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Avonmouth gasification plant stays shut until at least 2018

The owner of the troubled gasification plant at Avonmouth near Bristol says it does not expect operations to resume until at least 2018.

Progress on Avonmouth Bio Power’s 120,000-tonne facility is charted in the company’s latest annual report.

The advanced thermal treatment facility was built in 2013 to process refused-derived fuel (RDF) from the adjacent mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) facility then operated by New Earth Solutions Group (NESG). It benefits from having Renewable Obligation Credits until 2033.

A section in the annual report written by director Navyjot Dhillon acknowledges that Avonmouth’s facility has always underperformed.

“Throughput of RDF has not met financial targets and the export of electricity has been significantly below expectations,” he says.

Changes in the ownership in 2015 are said to have improved the situation, when the company sought to take waste and other material from different sources and reduce reliance on NESG. But a fire at the MBT plant in January 2016 disrupted feedstock supply.

Dhillon says the new approach resulted only in “sporadic and short-lived” improvements in operational performance.

He writes: “In June 2016, the board suspended activity at the [Avonmouth] plant to undertake a major redevelopment programme to address operational problems including the potential switch of fuel supply from RDF – a key requirement of the redevelopment being that the site operates on a readily available consistent feedstock.

“The detailed implementation plans are currently being finalised. It is anticipated that these works will commence during early 2017 and that operations at the plant may recommence during 2018.”

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