In May 2021, the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) began looking at geographical clusters suitable for the deployment of carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology in the mid-2020s.
Last autumn, BEIS chose the East Coast Cluster, which covers the Teesside and Humber areas, and Hynet, covering the north west and north Wales (see letsrecycle.com story).
Projects now chosen to proceed to the ‘due diligence stage’ of the Phase 2 cluster sequencing process in the East Coast Cluster include the Tees Valley Energy Recovery Facility Project (TVERF) and the Redcar Energy Centre.
Within the Hynet cluster, the chosen projects include Viridor’s Runcorn Industrial CCS project and the Protos Energy Recovery Facility.
To receive the funding, the companies still require a final decision from the government after a new Conservative Party leader is chosen in the autumn.
In a statement, BEIS said: “This shortlist does not imply availability of funding for any or all of the shortlisted projects but is purely the outcome of assessment against the Phase 2 criteria.”
BEIS said the 20 projects have to potential to realise economic benefits in the North West, North Wales, Teesside and Humber regions, as well as “putting us on a path to decarbonising our power system by 2035, while maintaining security of supply.”
BEIS did not choose to proceed with Suez’s Tees Valley facilities, Velocys’s Immingham waste to jet fuel plant, the Lighthouse Green Fuels project nor the North Lincolnshire Green Energy Park, among others.
Charlotte Rule is climate and energy policy advisor for the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the trade association representing the private waste sector. She said the ESA was “very pleased” to see a number of energy recovery projects shortlisted.
“These projects are likely now to be among the first of their kind in the UK to deploy carbon capture and storage technology for energy recovery, which is an important and significant stride on our journey towards a net zero recycling and waste management sector by 2040,” she said.
“It is therefore vital that the government continues to back this process following the Conservative leadership race in the autumn and grasps the opportunity to support the ambitious decarbonisation of our sector – which accounts for 8% of UK emissions – with both hands.”
Among those shortlisted was Viridor’s CCUS project at Runcorn in Cheshire, home of the largest EfW plant in the UK.
Viridor claims its project would capture around 900,000 tonnes of CO2 each year and “kickstart a world leading carbon capture industry right here in the UK”.
The company says it will continue to “engage fully” with the government in the next phase of the process, to ensure the Runcorn CCS project is a success and enables the UK to become “the world leader in affordable industrial carbon capture”.
Kevin Bradshaw, Viridor’s CEO, said: “We are delighted at today’s announcement, which is a significant step forward in reaching Viridor’s target of net zero by 2040 and climate positive by 2045.
“Delivery of carbon capture on EfW is essential to decarbonising the waste sector and will help to create some of the 50,000 jobs in the carbon capture economy across the UK by 2030.”
Viridor says it operates the largest fleet of EfW facilities in the UK, with 10 plants and a 22% share of the market.
Another of the projects shortlisted by BEIS is the TVERF, an EfW under development by by seven partner authorities in the North-East of England.
Once operational, the facility will treat up to 450,000 tonnes of residual waste every year and generate nearly 50MW of electricity.
Denise McGuckin, Hartlepool borough council’s managing director, said she was “thrilled” that the TVERF was shortlisted.
She said: “This brings us a significant step closer to being able to deliver a zero-carbon waste treatment solution for more 1.5 million residents across the North-East, supporting the net zero ambitions of the project partner authorities and making a contribution towards national net zero targets.”
The plant’s developers say the TVERF will provide Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton with a “secure, reliable and sustainable” treatment solution for municipal waste from 2026.
Three firms are currently bidding to design, finance, build and operate the TVERF: Suez, Viridor and Green Recovery Projects Ltd, a partnership between FCC and Icon Infrastructure.
The Protos Energy Recovery Facility is currently under development near Ellesmere Port and is due to be operated by Covanta to provide 400,000 tonnes of annual treatment capacity for non-recyclable waste, the developers say.
Covanta says the plant will generate up to 49MW of electricity, enough to power 90,000 homes.
Owen Michaelson, president and CEO of Covanta Europe, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the BEIS cluster sequencing competition for CCUS and fully support BEIS in their collaborative approach to deliver on the UK Government’s net zero targets.
“We are excited that energy from waste is recognised not only for its essential public hygiene service but also as critical infrastructure that can decarbonise and support the circular economy.”