Air Products to halt Tees Valley gasification project

Air Products has today (4 April) announced it is exiting the energy from waste business and will look to sell both Tees Valley 1 and 2 gasification plants.

An aerial view of the Air Products TV1 site, which will be discontinued as part of the company's energy from waste business

In a statement issued this afternoon, the US-based company said it was no longer in its best interest to pursue the Tees Valley project – which in total would have brought 700,000 tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity to the North East of England.

An aerial view of the Air Products TV1 site, which will be discontinued as part of the company's energy from waste business
An aerial view of the Air Products TV1 site, which will be discontinued as part of the company’s energy from waste business

The two plants were designed to use optimised plasma gasification technology to convert refuse derived fuel into synthetic gas. The RDF was to be partly supplied by Impetus Waste Management under its municipal waste treatment contract with the City of Hull (see letsrecycle.com story).

But, commissioning of the 350,000 tonne capacity Tees Valley 1 plant will end – after testing and analysis found design and operational challenges that could not be rectified without “time and cost”.

The facility had originally been due to enter operations in summer 2014.

And the TV2 project, for which construction work had started, but was suspended in November 2015, will also be discontinued permanently.

‘Hard’

Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and chief executive of Air Products, said: “We pushed very hard to make this new EfW technology work and I would like to thank the team who worked so diligently.

“We appreciate the hard work of our employees and contractors at the site, and certainly understand their disappointment in this decision. We are also disappointed with the outcome.”

Air Products will dismantle its EfW business effective from its second fiscal quarter. It expects to record a pre-tax charge in the range of $1 billion in discontinued operations – while a “modest” future tax benefit is expected from the write-off.

The company will look to “optimise the cash value” of its investments and redirect its focus on its core Industrial Gas business.

Air Products told letsrecycle.com it was “unsure” how the scrapping of TV1 would affect workers – but confirmed there were around 125 employees as well as 20 contract workers at the plant.

An estimated 700 workers were laid off when construction of TV2 was suspended in November. The GMB trade union was unavailable for comment.

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