Suez Recycling and Recovery UK has applied to the Environment Agency to increase the permitted capacity of its energy from waste (EfW) facility at Great Blakenham in Suffolk by 26,000 tonnes.
The two-stream plant currently has approval to treat around 269,000 tonnes per-year and has been receiving residual waste from Suffolk county council since commissioning began in June 2014. If the permit application is approved, the facility would be able to treat up to 295,000 tonnes of waste.
Suez says it is seeking to increase the upper limit on the plant in order to take in more residual waste, due to changes in the composition of material coming to the site since it opened its gates.
According to Suez, a ‘downward trend’ in the calorific value of waste available to feed the plant, which is expected to continue if more plastic waste is recycled, will impact the ability to produce energy at the site. Consequently, the facility will need to process more waste to continue to generate energy at its current level, Suez said.
The company confirmed that the additional waste to feed the plant will continue to be sourced from the Suffolk region, as well as material coming in from Norfolk and Essex.
In 2018, the facility processed a total of 266,135 tonnes of waste, with 233,211 coming from municipal sources and 32,924 made up of commercial waste. This produced 181,838 MWh of electricity, with 160,480 MWh exported to the grid.
Suez said there would be no changes needed to the building or the way the facility is run in order to accommodate the additional waste requirement. This means that there would be only a ‘limited impact’ on those living near the plant, with an estimated eight extra deliveries per day needed, it said.
A permit variation application to the Environment Agency was submitted in April and was released for consultation yesterday, August 1. The consultation will run until the 30 August.
An air quality assessment was also carried out as part of the application process, which showed that “emissions from the Operational Facility will not cause a breach of any air quality assessment level (AQAL)”.
Commenting on the application, Paul Newby, plant manager for SUEZ said: “We are entering our fifth year of putting Suffolk’s waste to good use. The facility is performing well and working efficiently and increasing the amount of waste we can accept will allow us to use Suffolk’s award-winning facility to its full potential.”
The facility was constructed as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI)-backed contract between Suez and Suffolk county council in 2010 worth approximately £1 billion (see letsrecycle.com story).
Environment Agency consultation