21 February 2020 by James Langley

Surrey Eco Park in final stages of testing

Suez UK said this week its Eco Park plant in Surrey is making “steady progress”, with the final stages of testing for the anaerobic digestion (AD) facility and hot commissioning of the gasification facility currently underway.

A progress update on the project states: “The past several months have continued to see steady progress at the Eco Park, with work primarily focused on the final stages of testing for the anaerobic digestion facility and ongoing hot commissioning of the gasification facility.

“Most importantly, the turbine was synchronised to the national grid and the site has now generated the first MWh of electricity.”

In November, a Suez spokesperson told letsrecycle.com the facility had been expected to become fully operational in the next few months (see letsrecycle.com story).

The Eco Park is a collection of facilities designed to manage waste from Surrey households. Suez is developing the plant as part of a 25-year PFI contract between Suez and Surrey county council, originally awarded in 1999.

AD

The AD facility has been designed to treat 40,000 tonnes-a-year of food waste, and a trial operation was completed along with a minimum performance test in October.

To date, the AD plant has processed 11,000 tonnes of food waste and generated 2.5 GWh of energy, Suez said.

The progress update explained the plant was now in the final stage of performance testing and is receiving all of Surrey’s food waste, and it took in all the county’s food waste during the Christmas period when volumes were roughly one and a half times higher than usual.

Gasification

Hot commissioning of the gasifier began in late 2019, with the first waste accepted on 22 September.

The turbine generator was synchronised with the National Grid on 19 November 2019, and Suez says the gasifier is now nearing the final stages of commissioning, with a trial operation expected to begin next month.

The progress update explained: “The gasification process achieved several milestones, including reaching the Maximum Continuous Rating of 17.5 tonnes of steam per hour.

“This means that the plant has started to produce the volume of steam that it is designed to produce continuously under normal conditions.”

Gasification remains a relatively new technology in the UK. Heat is used to create steam in the boiler, which drives a turbine and electrical generator to create energy. Steam is then sent through an air-cooled condenser where it transforms back into water before returning to the boiler, to be turned into steam once again.

Construction

Suez says construction of the car park on the western side of the site has been completed, along with all external lighting, and the administration building has been officially opened for site staff.

Last year, Suez appealed a planning decision by Spelthorne borough council to decline consent for an entrance sign at the front of the facility and was awaiting a decision.

The company says advertising consent for the entrance sign has now been granted on appeal.


Conference
Infrastructure will be on the agenda at the Resource Infrastructure Conference, to be held on 24 March. More information can be found here.

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