Baseload, Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, News

New waste-to-energy facility enters commercial operation in the UK

Wheelabrator Kemsley
Wheelabrator Kemsley

Wheelabrator Technologies announced that its fourth waste-to-energy, Wheelabrator Kemsley, has entered full commercial operation following a successful commissioning phase throughout early 2020.

Wheelabrator Kemsley is a combined heat and power facility with a baseload electricity capacity of 49.9 MW (gross) / 44 MW (net) power, which will be provided to U.K. homes and businesses. The facility will process up to 550,000 tons of non-recyclable waste from across Kent and the South East, helping to reduce waste and carbon emissions by diverting waste from a landfill and making better use of non-recyclable material in the U.K. through the energy recovery process. It will also provide steam heat – up to 70 tons per hour – to Kemsley Paper Mill.

Through its four facilities, waste-to-energy platform, Wheelabrator Technologies, will process 2.2M tons of non-recyclable household and commercial waste each year, in turn generating 1.1 net MWh of baseload energy. The portfolio includes:

  • Wheelabrator Parc Adfer at Deeside in North Wales, processing 200,000 tons of non-recyclable waste to generate 19 MW (gross) / 17 MW (net) per year.
  • Multifuel Energy Limited Ferrybridge 1 in Yorkshire, processing 725,000 tons of non-recyclable waste to generate 79 MW (gross) 72 MW (net) per year (under a joint venture with SSE).
  • Multifuel Energy Limited Ferrybridge 2 – also in Yorkshire, processing 675,000 tons of non-recyclable waste to generate 79 MW (gross) / 72 MW (net) per year (under a joint venture with SSE).

Furthermore, a Development Consent Order (DCO) application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, in 2019, to upgrade the energy output and increase the waste throughput. If granted, the DCO approval would allow the Kemsley facility to increase output of up to 75 MW (gross) / 66 MW (net) and process up to 657,000 tons. A decision on the application is expected in Q1 2021.

Wheelabrator’s DCO application also contains plans for waste-to-energy facility Wheelabrator Kemsley North, a new 42 MW (gross) / 37 MW (net) waste-to-energy plant, which would be located adjacent to Wheelabrator Kemsley. It would process up to 390,000 tons of non-recyclable waste each year.

The company also has a further series of advanced waste-to-energy projects in development in the U.K. including:

  • Wheelabrator Kelvin, a 400,000-ton facility in West Bromwich; and
  • Multifuel Skelton Grange, a 410,000-ton facility in Yorkshire, which will be developed with SSE as part of the Multifuel Energy Limited 2 (MEL 2) joint venture.

All three facilities are expected to commence construction in 2021.

Robert Boucher, President and CEO at Wheelabrator Technologies, said, “To be able to complete construction, hot commissioning, grid synchronization 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.”

Colin McIntyre, CEO of DS Smith’s Paper and Recycling divisions said, “Harvesting steam from Wheelabrator Technologies facility for our paper mill at Kemsley is a key part of our energy strategy. As the largest mill for recycled paper in the U.K., processing almost 1M tons of paper for recycling a year, achieving the right energy mix is vital. With the facility fully operationally, it will supply us with a third of the steam required to run our paper making operations.”