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Three waste-to-energy plants employing different technologies to generate power ...

Three waste-to-energy plants employing different technologies to generate power and/or heat are at various stages of development in Wales and Derbyshire. First, global waste-to-energy company Covanta Energy is to build a £400mn energy-from-waste plant near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, following detailed discussion between the US-owned company and the Welsh Assembly Government’s International Business Wales. The new facility - to be known as Brig y Cwm - will be located on low-lying land near to Miller Argent (South Wales) Ltd Cwmbargoed disposal point. It will be sited alongside an existing railway line that will link it to a number of rail-operated waste transfer stations to be created across Wales, enabling the waste to be transported by rail. Brig y Cwm will address the increasingly serious problem of household and commercial rubbish disposal. Some of the largest landfill sites in Wales are due to close this year, and local authorities must find alternative options to landfill in order to meet tough environmental targets. The plant, which will consume only waste that cannot effectively be re-used or recycled, will provide around 100 full-time jobs. The company began a process of consultation with local people and stakeholders in February. Covanta Energy is also investigating the possibility that people and businesses in neighbouring communities could buy electricity at below market rates, and that lower-cost energy and waste heat can be made available to attract other new investors to the area. Meanwhile, Energos has been appointed as technology provider to United Utilities and Interserve for a joint venture to build an advanced thermal conversion waste facility in Derbyshire. The energy from waste plant is part of a proposed integrated waste treatment facility for Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council which have appointed the joint venture to build the facility and operate it for 27 years. Energos, part of UK-based sustainable power group ENER-G, would supply its gasification technology which has a ten-year track record of operation in Norway and Germany, and is now operating at the UK’s first gasification plant on the Isle of Wight. The proposed gasification plant will export some 8 MW of green electricity from 140,000 tonnes of fuel produced from Derbyshire and Derby City’s residual waste. The energy from waste facility would create 38 full-time jobs. Finally, 3NRG has acquired the necessary regulatory licences to operate an integrated mechanical heat treatment with power plant at Tythegston, Bridgend, in Wales, which will generate enough electricity to supply its own needs and that of approximately 4,000 homes. Employing a unique combination of steam treatment of solid waste, the recovery of materials for recycling such as plastics, metals and glass, the remaining biomass, derived from the paper, cardboard and food residues, is put through a pyrolysis process to produce a gas. This gas is used to create steam, which in turn drives an electricity generating turbine. The 4 MW of surplus electricity generated will be exported to the national grid. A pilot project has been running for some time at the Tythegston former landfill site. The £25mn full-scale plant is due for completion by early 2010.

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