Waste and resources firm Viridor has had a permit application approved by the Environment Agency to increase the capacity of its Runcorn Energy from Waste (EfW) plant by 250,000 tonnes per year.
The permit variation increases the quantity of waste that the facility is permitted to accept from 850,000 tonnes per year to 1,100,000 tonnes per year – making the facility the largest of its kind permitted to operate in the UK by several hundred thousand tonnes.
Cory’s Belevedere waste facility and Suez’s Billingham plant, which are both permitted to treat up to 750,000 tonnes of waste per year, are the closest plants in terms of size currently in operation in the UK.
The change in permit will allow around 1.04 million tonnes to be incinerated at the facility, with the remainder being “largely moisture which evaporates from the bunker before the waste is treated”, the company explained in its application for the permit extension.
The permit changes will also see the emission limit and monitoring requirements for carbon monoxide changed from a 100mg/m3 half hour average to the 150mg/m3 10-minute average.
Viridor has been operating the EfW plant since 2015. The facility currently is permitted to take in RDF and household, combustible and industrial wastes for incineration over four moving grate furnaces.
Much of the waste for the site comes from the Greater Manchester region through a contract with the Greater Manchester local authorities. A large proportion of this is transported by rail.
The decision from the Environment Agency comes less than a month after proposals were accepted by Halton borough council last month to lift a restriction on the amount of waste that can be delivered to the plant by road (see letsrecycle.com story).
Halton lifted the 480,000 tonnes-per-year road restriction, which was instead replaced by a limit on Heavy Good Vehicle (HGV) movements into the site per-day.
The application to the Environment Agency was initially submitted in October (see letsrecycle.com story).
Commenting on the plant’s performance, Roy Griffin, Viridor’s head of operations (North), said: “Since the plant opened in 2015, our team has steadily improved its performance. We are now able to turn more non-recyclable waste into energy and reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
Mr Griffin added: “The results of our recent trials of additional throughput have shown that the plant is capable of operating for longer periods between outages for maintenance; which means that we can maximise the environmental opportunities of the facility. Our aim ultimately is to generate more low carbon energy and send less waste to landfill.”