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Councils discuss future of delayed gasification project

Two councils met last week behind closed doors to discuss the future of a delayed municipal gasification plant.

Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) (RRS), a partnership between Renewi and construction firm Interserve to manage household waste for the councils, is building a waste treatment centre at Sinfin for Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council to divert 190,000 tonnes a year of waste from landfill.

The partnership also manages nine household waste recycling centres and two waste transfer stations.

The facility is intended to gasify waste to produce enough electricity to power 14,000 homes. It had been due to open last year.

Derbyshire deputy leader Simon Spencer said: “We need a waste treatment facility to give us and council taxpayers certainty over the future cost of dealing with waste that residents from the city and county either cannot or choose not to recycle.

“We are carefully monitoring the progress of commissioning – during which the equipment is tested to make sure it is all working together properly – and we are in discussions with RRS about how it can get the treatment centre fully operational and meeting our required capacity and performance requirements as soon as possible.”

The councils said their meetings had not been held to “take a decision on termination, but the councils are closely monitoring their contractual position with RRS”.

Derby City leader Chris Poulter said: “As with all major initiatives, it is prudent to monitor progress and agree what decisions need be taken in order to move them forward. Our priority is to seek assurances that the centre will be operational as soon as possible.”

A statement on the RRS website said that, as of 13 August this year, site testing was continuing, with two out of three ACT gasification lines running on refuse-derived fuel and the third expected soon.

RRS said the turbine was also being tested and was “starting to generate some power to grid – it is performing well so far”.

Readers' comments (3)

  • This seems strange.

    If you thought of making money from the Waste Treatment system then Anaerobic Digestion with the additional facility of Converting Plastics to Hydrogen Fuel and Bio-Char would give you a return on investment of less than 6 years.

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  • What a waste. We need to move away from setting fire to things. Recycling was nearly 50% in Derby till the contract was signed, then dropped like a stone to under 35%. Terms in the contract stipulate that if there is not enough residuals (blackbin), then the separate bluebin for plastics. metals, glass (calorifics) and brownbin (organics), garden waste will be raided instead. Obviously this is then interfering with reduction, reuse, recycling.These are NOT residuals.

    The cost of the bluebin recycling is approx £12 per bin.
    The cost of the blackbin, for incineration (not even really started yet, but already this incinerator is causing misery to nearby residents in the form of excessive noise and stink) is £112
    There is no contest and other authorities need to be aware of this massive confidence trick.
    The councils, (all of them, under the Inter-authority contract) continue to be well and truly misinformed
    Don't get me started on the carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide etc

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  • In reality gasification has been an abject failure in performance and economic terms, whereas “traditional” moving grate mass burn incineration (from the right supplier) has been an enormous success for decades. Apart from this we urgently need to collect all food waste separately and ensure we have new UK plants to turn mixed plastic (outside PET and HDPE) into reusable forms, avoiding incineration or landfill where ever possible. Unwanted plastic could be turned back into oil and if the Chancellor did not tax this as a road fuel there would be an immediate fiscal incentive.

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