21 July 2020 by Robyn White

Wheelabrator gives Kemsley EfW update

Wheelabrator Technologies has today (21 July) announced that its Kemsley energy from waste (EfW) facility, which can process up to 550,000 tonnes of waste per year, has entered full commercial operation. 
Construction of the plant started in 2016, and today’s announcement follows a successful commissioning phase earlier this year.

The plant has the capacity to process up to 550,000 tonnes a year

The combined heat and power facility will generate up to 49.9MW (net) of sustainable, baseload electricity for Kent and the South East.

The facility also provides up to 70 tonnes per hour of steam heat to DS Smith’s adjacent Kemsley Paper Mill.

Wheelabrator said the plant will play a “major role” in reducing waste sent to landfill or for European export, and will see the company as a whole processing 2.2 million tonnes of non–recyclable household and commercial waste each year.

The facility also awaits a Development Consent Order for additional waste capacity and electrical output.

If granted, this would allow Wheelabrator to increase the output of the facility up to 66 MW (net) and process up to 657,000 tonnes. A decision on this application is expected in 2021.

Suez is thought to have secured a large contract to supply the plant with waste in May. However, it will not be the sole provider of waste to the plant, “with a number of contractors in place”.

‘Fantastic accomplishment’

Robert Boucher, president and CEO at Wheelabrator Technologies, said: “To be able to complete construction, hot commissioning, grid synchronisation and steam export to DS Smith during the COVID-19 pandemic is a fantastic accomplishment and a testament to the commitment of our team and our partners to work safely and make a difference.

“To be able to complete construction, hot commissioning and grid synchronisation during the pandemic is a fantastic accomplishment”

Robert Boucher, Wheelabrator CEO

“Takeover at Kemsley is the result of many years of commitment, hard work and strong partnerships with DS Smith, our customers and the communities we operate within.”

Colin McIntyre, CEO of DS Smith’s paper and recycling divisions, added: “With the facility fully operationally, it will supply us with a third of the steam required to run our paper making operations. We are delighted with our strategic energy partnership with Wheelabrator, a partnership which enables a carbon reduction of 78,000 tonnes per year”.


With the Kemsley EfW plant now operational, Wheelabrator has further cemented itself as an important player in the UK EfW market. It operates the Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 and 2 facilities, as part of a joint venture with SSE.

Plans are also afoot for facilities in the West Midlands (see letsrecycle.com story) and Leeds (see letsrecycle.com story).

However, it recently scrapped plans for a plant in Hampshire following a “strategic review” (see letsrecycle.com story)



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