Officially opening Lincolnshire county council’s new energy from waste plant yesterday (November 27), Business Secretary, Vince Cable, praised the facility as an example of a reliable renewable energy process.
The plant at North Hykeham, just north of the city, is operated by FCC Environment under a 25 year residual waste contract for the authority.
Dr Cable said: “This plant is saving masses of waste from going to landfill and at the same time it is generating power. I don’t think there is any risk of the lights going out. To keep the lights on we need a mix of energy sources and 17% of electricity is now renewable.”
And, comparing energy from waste to solar and wind power, the secretary of state said: “This is one of the not uncertain types of renewables. The energy from this plant is a predictable source of power and can power 15,000 homes, or so I am told, and it also solves the problem of landfill. The council could pay a lot of tax.”
Cllr Reg Shore, executive member for waste and recycling at Lincolnshire county council, said: “This ceremony gives us the perfect opportunity to take stock of the success of the EfW plan so far, as many years of hard work have been put into developing it as a waste solution that is effective, green and saves money.
“Not only is the plant efficiently disposing of both residential and commercial waste, but it’s feeding sustainable energy back into the grid and saving tax-payers’ money – and that certainly deserves celebrating.”
Paul Taylor, chief executive of FCC Environment, said: “Lincoln’s EfW is another step forward in achieving our strategy of owning the waste and maximising the value of the resource through renewable energy as well as developing the UK’s EfW infrastructure.”
Much was made at the opening of the fact that the plant was funded by Lincolnshire choosing to use the prudential borrowing financial mechanism rather than the PFI route which it had the option to take. Prudential borrowing meant that the £125 million costs was funded by a loan from the National Loans Fund linked to HM Treasury.
The development is thought to have been one of the quickest ‘planning to hot commissioning’ facilities ever developed in the UK. Planning permission was granted in July 2009 with hot commissioning in August 2013.
FCC was responsible for the full EPC contract with construction by Clugston and technology from CNIM.
Metals are recovered from the bottom ash with it treated by Johnsons Aggregates of Nottingham. The ash material has been used for road and tramway construction in Nottingham.
APC residues from gas treatment are processed by FCC’s treatment plant at Nostrop before being landfilled. Overall, about 6,000 tonnes of 150,000 tonnes of material sent to the incinerator ends up being landfilled each year.
The bunkers for the facility can take in about 10 days waste and overnight the grabs can be set to automatic so that a ‘trench’ is dug below the input chutes to allow for material to be easily dropped in from RCVs and walking floor trucks. The facility also has a shredder to handle bulky items that enter the waste stream, such as mattresses, beds and window frames.
The waste comes from Lincolnshire and originally only about 120,000 tonnes was expected but the plant is being filled to capacity under the contract and takes in almost entirely residual waste from municipal sources. The county area has a recycling rate of just under 50%.