The industry could determine this year whether advanced conversion technology (ACT) is commercially viable, an expert has said.
At the Energy From Waste Conference 2017 in London, Ricardo Energy & Environment principal consultant Mark Ramsay said the removal of subsidies in March 2018 posed a challenge for the industry.
ACT projects, along with other green energy sites, have been able to apply for renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) from the Government but these close to all new applications in March next year.
Ramsay said there were 11 or 12 ACT plants under construction, with about 25 in the planning stage. He expected many of the plants underway to come online before the end of March 2018.
“Maybe 2017-18 really is the year we find out whether it will be commercially viable. Maybe simpler technology is the way forward. Quite a lot of plants that have not delivered, maybe they were a little overambitious,” he said.
“Perhaps the simpler plants that are in construction have a better chance of turning into a commercial reality.”
Market interest in ACT had picked up in the past few months, he said, since the latest round of contracts for difference subsidies was announced last year. But an audience member commented that the latest round would be “substantially oversubscribed”.
Ramsay also said the industry had developed from believing that ACT plants could process any feedstock to realising that such facilities were “pretty fussy”.
When asked about the effect of high-profile failures such as Air Products and Dumfries and Galloway, he said much learning had taken place in the sector.