27 September 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Viridor joins with Grundon for West Sussex EfW

Viridor and Grundon Waste Management have today (September 27) outlined joint plans for an energy from waste facility in West Sussex.

Plans are for the facility to be constructed at the Grundon-owned ‘Ford Circular Technology Park’ which is based in Ford, 10 miles west of Worthing.

Grundon received planning permission in 2014 for a Technology Park which included a proposal an ERF along with a 60,000 tonne per year capacity materials recycling facility (MRF) (see letsrecycle.com story).

West Sussex could be home to an energy from waste plant now proposed by Grundon with Viridor

Viridor also has a MRF nearby which was built in 2009 as part of a 25-year PFI contract between them and West Sussex county council. And, Viridor said in a statement that the proposed location “already benefits from planning consent for an ERF”.

Although the exact tonnage of the proposed plant hasn’t yet been disclosed by Viridor, the site was granted permission  for a facility to “manage up to 200,000 tonnes of waste per annum”.

Residual

West Sussex currently has a 25 year residual waste contract with Biffa for residual waste treatment via an MBT plant north of Horsham. Some of the RDF produced is sent overseas via a five year council contract with Britanniacrest and Seneca but it is expected that should the Ford energy from waste plant be built, it could become part of a tenderer’s proposal for handling residual municipal waste as well as some commercial material. West Sussex’ hopes around 2010 for a combined heat and power plant near the Horsham facility came to nothing.

The proposed technology for the Ford plant involves the use of a gasifier according to application documents from 2013. Waste is placed into a hopper and passes through a gasifier with metal dropping out. Gas is then filtered and combusted driving a turbine and exhausts passing through a stack with electricity going to the grid.

Portfolio

If it goes ahead, the new facility at Ford will bring the total number of plants in Viridor’s portfolio to 12. Viridor describes the plants as ERFs – Energy Recovery Facilities – and says it has a current £1.5bn ERF portfolio with ten plants in operation and the £252m ERF at Avonmouth under construction. The venture between Viridor and Grundon “follows the success of the existing joint venture” between the two firms at Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW) facility, near Slough.

The Ford facility is slightly unusual compared to others for being called in by government for just a few months in 2014 and then the Coalition government ended the call in, saying: “The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.”

Robust

Commenting after outlining the plans, Phil Piddington, Viridor’s managing director, said: ”The market fundamentals for ERFs remain robust, with the gap between combustible residual waste arisings and ERF capacity forecast to remain around seven million tonnes per annum to 2035,” he explained.

“ERFs make a vital contribution to both the sustainability and security of energy generation in the UK.”

Neil Grundon

Mr Piddington added: “In addition to today’s announcement, we are continuing to develop options around a further two ERFs, as signalled in our Capital Markets Day earlier this year.

This was echoed by Grundon’s deputy chairman, Neil Grundon, who said: “ERFs make a vital contribution to both the sustainability and security of energy generation in the UK. As one of the UK’s leading providers of waste management and environmental services, Grundon is committed to helping reduce society’s dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels and providing environmentally-friendly alternatives to disposing of waste at landfill.”

  • The announcement of plans for the West Sussex MRF today came alongside publication of a trading statement from Pennon, parent group of Viridor. In it Pennon said that 85% of inputs and about 75% of offtake from its new plastics reprocessing facility at Avonmouth is now contracted and it may build similar facilities at Ardley, Oxfordshire and Dunbar, Scotland.
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