50 MW Plasma Gasification Facility to Treat Waste in Tees Valley

Gas processing technology developer, Air Products is to build and operate a 50 MW advanced gasification waste to energy facility in Tees Valley, UK - the largest plant of its type in the world.

Click to enlarge - credit: AlterNRG
07 August 2012

Allentown, Pennsylvania based gas processing technology developer, Air Products (NYSE: APD) is to build and operate a 50 MW advanced gasification waste to energy facility in Tees Valley, UK.

The company claimed that the plant, located at the New Energy and Technology Business Park, near Billingham, Teesside, will be the first of its kind in the UK, and the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.

According to Air Products the facility has good access and connectivity to the local and national electrical distribution infrastructure and is in close proximity to landfill disposal facilities.

It is expected to divert up to 350,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill per year - helping to meet the UK's waste diversion targets.

Longer term, the company said that the plant would have the potential to generate a renewable source of hydrogen for commercial use, for example to fuel public transport. It could also be used to increase the facility's efficiency with the use of fuel cells. (See WMW story: Fuel Cell Technology: Gasification Game Changer?)

Plasma gasification technology

The Westinghouse advanced plasma gasification technology utilised at the site is to be provided by Calgary, Canada based alternative energy technology company, AlterNRG (TSX: NRG and OTCQX: ANRGF).

The facility's developer claimed that the technology offers a more efficient, cleaner conversion of waste to energy than traditional technologies and has the potential to generate a wider range of useful products, including heat, hydrogen, chemicals and fuels. 

Once operational, residual waste collected from homes, businesses and industry, which cannot be recycled, will be delivered to the facility and fed into the enclosed gasifier and combusted at a very high temperature using plasma technology.

Air Products said that emissions are reduced due to the high temperature used in the process while the waste is converted into a syngas and a by-product, a non- organic vitrified slag which can be recycled, for use in road bedding and other construction based applications.

The syngas will be treated, cleaned, and used in a combustion gas turbine to generate electricity.

Longer term, the company said that the potential generation of renewable hydrogen could be deployed for commercial use, such as fuelling public transport.

Planning and permits

Air Products said that it has secured the necessary environmental and planning approvals and the facility is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2014.

Furthermore, work has already begun to prepare the site and the company said that it expects full scale construction activities to begin ramping up in the coming weeks.

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg commented: "Advanced gasification has a key role to play in delivering renewable energy and I warmly welcome the decision by Air Products to proceed with its Tees Valley Renewable Energy Facility."

"Air Products' announcement reflects the UK's commitment and support for clean energy, combined with our stable and transparent environment for investors," he added.

"Transparency, longevity and certainty underpin the UK's commitment to renewable energy. The renewable obligations banding review demonstrates the value the UK Government places on energy security and consumer protection against fluctuating fossil fuel prices, as well as job creation and business growth," concluded Clegg.
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