FCC Environment in £480m EfW project with Tata

27 MARCH 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and FCC Environment have announced that £480 million in funding has been secured to construct a 600,000 tonne capacity EfW plant in Lostock, Cheshire.

The funding was agreed between the two companies – through a joint venture called the ‘Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant Limited’ (LSEP) – and Tata Chemicals Europe, which previously headed up the project.

Under the agreement, the LSEP will own, construct and operate the facility, but Tata Chemicals Europe will “remain a key long term participant”.

Lostock

Artists impression of the proposed Lostock facility by the Trent and Mersey Canal

The deal will also see CIP own 60% of the plant, while FCC will own the remaining 40% and also source the waste for the facility.

The plant is scheduled to commence operations in the end of second quarter of 2023.

Milestone

Commenting on the deal, Paul Taylor, group chief executive of FCC, said: “Today is a milestone for the waste treatment industry here in the UK which is facing a severe capacity gap for the treatment of un-recyclable residual waste.

“We already successfully operate a number of plants here in the UK generating some 102 MW of green energy with a new plant due to come on stream in Edinburgh later this summer. So this development forms an important part of our strategy to continuously invest in the waste related infrastructure that is crucial for this country’s ability to process waste and power homes across the UK both today and in the future. We also maintain our strategy to strengthen FCC’s UK position as EfW owner, supplier and UK operator.”

2012 consent

The Lostock energy from waste plant (EFW) will be developed in accordance with the planning consent secured by Tata in 2012, and will replace the old coal-fired power station it had on the site.

The two-boiler line project will be built by a consortium led by CNIM, the French industrial engineering contractor, and the milestone marks the green light for them to initiate manufacturing and construction.

The construction process will consist of two phases, starting with a 15-month enabling works program followed by a 3-year building phase including six months of commissioning.

Tata Chemicals Europe said the plant will also become an “important long-term customer” for TCE’s sodium bicarbonate, which will be used in the treatment of the flue gas emissions from the EFW.

Fraser Ramsay, TCE’s project director, said: “We’re delighted to have reached agreement with LSEP for them to fund, own, build and operate the Lostock Energy from Waste Plant.  We recognised the need for strong third-party support to take this project forward and, through this agreement, have secured leading energy from waste expertise to make the plant a reality.”

Mr Ramsay added: “At £480m, this is one of the largest investments at the Lostock site since soda ash manufacturing commenced in 1907 and continues a rich industrial history of innovation and job creation in Northwich.

“We hope, by working with industry leading organisations, that concerns previously expressed about the project by members of the local community will be alleviated.”


Cheshire waste wood gasification facility ‘fully operational’

26 MARCH 2019by Joshua Doherty

The 170,000 tonnes-per-year capacity ‘Ince Bio Power’ waste wood gasification facility in Cheshire is now fully operational, developer Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) announced today (26 March).

Ince Bio Power forms part of Peel Environmental’s ‘Protos’ energy hub, located near Ellesmere Port.

The facility uses advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technology – otherwise known as gasification – which turns waste wood feedstock into a combustible gas by heating it in a “virtually oxygen-free environment”.

The gasification facility is based at Peel Environmental’s ‘Protos’ hub and will process around 170,000 tonnes of waste wood

The Energy Works Hull plant in East Yorkshire and one at Levenseat in Lanarkshire – also owned by BIG – will also employ the same ATT technology.

Ince Biopower will be fed by up to 170,00 tonnes of waste wood from the north west of England to produce around 21.5MW of electricity. The site also features a processing site to shred material and remove metals before processing.

Around 150 jobs were created during the construction of Ince Bio Power. The plant will be operated and managed by about 25 full-time employees.

The facility generated its first energy as part of testing in May 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story), around three years after construction on the facility started.

Commenting on today’s update, Neil Bennett, chief commercial officer at BIG, said: “We are delighted that Ince is now fully operational and will continue to generate clean, base-load, renewable energy for the people of the north-west of England. This is not only a significant milestone for Ince but also an important moment in the development of gasification facilities in the UK, which are a sustainable alternative to incineration.”

Protos

The Protos site consists of a number of energy facilities and is expected to create over 3,000 jobs and provide a £350 million boost to the economy, the site’s owners say. Discussions are also ongoing between Biffa and Covanta for a 350,000 tonnes-per-year energy from waste plant on the site.

Commenting on the Ince Bio Power site Jane Gaston, development director at Peel Environmental, said: “This is a significant step forward for Protos and the creation of a strategic and self-sustaining energy hub in the north west.

“Facilities such as this are vitally important in the transition to a low carbon economy and meeting the Government’s clean growth agenda. The supply of a local, sustainable and secure source of energy only goes to reaffirm this region’s position as the industrial powerhouse of the UK, making it even more attractive to businesses both at home and overseas.”

Progressive Energy also announced earlier this year that it would set up a 175,000 tonne gasification facility at Protos, which was worth up to worth up to £150 million (see letsrecycle.com story).


EfWs on target at Viridor but Glasgow losses loom

25 MARCH 2019 by Steve Eminton

Pennon Group today reported good progress on its subsidiary Viridor’s suite of energy from waste plans under development but could face having to make further provisions for losses over its Glasgow facility.

In an update ahead of its results for the year ending 13 March 2019 which will be published at the end of May, Pennon – which also owns South West Water – said its “operational ramp up for Glasgow, Dunbar and Beddington Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) is progressing well and construction of Avonmouth is well advanced.”

Viridor’s energy from waste facility in Glasgow

It also said that its recycling division, which had been under pressure in recent years after a fall in the value of secondary commodities and restrictions on exports to China, is on track to meet expectations.

Energy from Waste

Pennon said that the three new Viridor ERFs at Glasgow, Beddington and Dunbar have “all progressed through commissioning to service commencement ahead of full operation. Optimisation is ongoing and operations will continue to ramp up over the next 18 months in line with the pattern experienced already in our existing portfolio.”

And, existing plants, have performed “in line with management expectations” and continued to perform “ahead of our base case scenario, underpinning the full year results forecast”.

One of its newest facilities is the Avonmouth ERF which “has progressed as expected this year with all major process equipment parts and steelwork for the building in place.”

Interserve

Pennon is facing the potential for losses over its “Glasgow Recycling Renewable Energy Centre” known as GRREC.

Twelve months ago the company reported that the project was £95 million over budget and consequently future income from its contract with Glasgow city council could be hit (see letsrecycle.com story).

The project has faced extra costs and disruption because of the demise of its project contractor, Interserve.

Today Pennon pointed out that its half-year results “recognised a gross receivable of £72 million due from Interserve Construction Limited. As the amounts recoverable from Interserve Construction Limited related to rectification and completion costs, under accounting standards (IFRIC12), the difference between the gross contractual receivable of £72 million and the expected recovery will be taken directly to the income statement.”

Assessing market risk, in the half year accounts a provision of £8 million was “recognised against the receivable”. And Pennon, said it continues to monitor Interserve’s financial condition and is now recognising a provision of £16 million.

But, with Interserve plc entering administration, Pennon is seeking further clarification regarding the financial position of Interserve Construction Limited the ongoing operating company with whom it contracted, and this may change the level of provision to be announced with the full year 2018/19 results on 30 May 2019.

Pennon pledged to continue “to pursue recovery of all amounts due from the operating subsidiary Interserve Construction Limited and will take all the necessary legal and procedural steps to achieve this.”

Recycling

On recycling, Pennon highlighted the stability of recyclate prices for Viridor and increasing customer quality requirements.

Pennon noted: “Viridor has continued with targeted investment in its recycling assets in order to improve output quality, including a focus on reliability centred maintenance and working with its customers to improve the quality of input materials.”


Hydrogen Could Make Scotland a Green Energy Global Powerhouse

green energy

Highland-based think tank says hydrogen power revolution could see Scotland reaping a massive amount of wealth as a global exporter of green energy

Think tank HIAlba-Idea, based in the Scottish Highlands, has drawn up a plan that would see Scotland well positioned to receive huge benefits from renewable hydrogen energy.

Not only could Scotland satisfy its own domestic needs, it could also start exporting green energy abroad – a move the group says will have a transformative effect on the country’s economy and standing of the nation.

The think tank asserts that Scotland would be able to fuel the proposed European supergrid, and generate so much wealth the country could establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund, similar to the one established by Norway with North Sea oil.

Headed up by economist professor Ronald MacDonald and Dr Donald MacRae, HIAlba-Idea is the first ever think tank to be based in the Highlands. MacDonald is a professor of macroeconomics at Glasgow University’s Adams Smith Business School and has been a consultant adviser to the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the World Bank, the IMF, and the UK National Audit Office.

MacRae has held under-secretary positions in the Australian Government and was a director with Australia’s commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Australia has already begun using solar power to develop renewable hydrogen energy.

The think tank’s blueprint, Hydrogen Scotland: A Route to Export Powerhouse and Maximising Scotland’s Wellbeing While Bravely Innovating, is based on MacRae’s work at CSIRO and is due to be released imminently.

A clean, cheap, plentiful source of energy hydrogen can be produced via solar, wave or wind power. Now, for the first time, hydrogen energy can be exported, which has led some to describe the process as ‘bottling sunshine’.

https://info.secdata.com/Whitepaper_Cybersecurity_Odessey_Digit

MacRae has put forward the concept of storing green energy on decommissioned North Sea oil rigs. It would be kept as ammonia, from which the hydrogen can be extracted.

Many believe this will provide a viable solution to many of the West’s environmental, economic and social problems.

MacDonald suggests that this energy revolution would help solve the “tail-off in productivity of the Scottish and UK economy,” which has emerged as a result of a shift from manufacturing to services.

Describing renewable hydrogen energy as a “big transformative idea”, he says that it could take Scotland back to being “a manufacturing economy and an export power house”.

MacDonald believes that rural parts of the country will stand to benefit from the “energy revolution” and could lead to a “Highland renaissance” as many of the winds farms that will be needed could be located in these areas.

The think tank is now asking the Scottish Government and key members of the oil industry to collaborate with them to create a Scottish road map for the commercial use of renewable hydrogen.

“Clearly, a Europe self-sufficient in green energy would have the implications that go beyond decarbonisation, including that of its security, since it would no longer need to be reliant on potentially hostile countries for energy supplies,” said MacDonald.

“For Scotland, it has the potential to be a very significant game-changer. In fact, there are so many innovations that spin off it that we are actually looking at it as a whole portfolio of opportunities. For Scotland, we are talking about something of immense significance.

“If the supergrid became a reality then that in itself could be revolutionary. This could be the pathway to making the whole of Europe green.”


Scotland dumps more rubbish in landfill despite record recycling

By David Leask Chief Reporter, The Herald

New laws on landfill will start in 2021

New laws on landfill will start in 2021

SCOTLAND is sending more rubbish to landfill as its recycling drive stalls, new figures have revealed.

Councils and commercial operators dumped 3.83 million tonnes of waste in the ground in 2017, more than 700 kilos each for every man woman and child in the country.

The figure rose because increasing recycling and incineration cannot keep up with a relentless rise in the amount of garbage generated north of the border, including industrial and construction rubble and soil.

Official figures published on Tuesday by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or Sepa showed recorded waste from all sources at 11.82 million tonnes, up 5.5 per cent from a year before.

The share of rubbish recycled - after successive years of increasing - edged back slightly to 58.9 per cent in 2017. This was a rare setback in succesive years of improvement.

READ MORE: We are getting good at recycling but we need to create less trash

Green campaigners have long warned that the country needs to generate less waste rather than just try to recycle the rubbish it does create.

Iain Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland, writing in today’s Herald, said: “We are getting smarter about ways to deal with waste but the real challenge is reducing it in the first place.”

Terry A’Hearn, Sepa’s Chief Executive, said: “The scale of the environmental challenge is enormous and we know that in Scotland we currently use the resources of three planets, but only have one.

“The most successful countries in the 21st century will be resource efficient, circular economies, where what once was waste is valued as a resource.

“As such, the latest figures give communities and businesses a fresh focus for the opportunity ahead.”

The big picture remains that Scotland is still landfilling half as much as it did in 2005. The rise in waste in 2017 was largely down to soil and rubble rather than trash collected from homes. There was slightly less municipal waste thrown in to landfill in 2017 than in 2016.

Both environmentalists and the waste industry itself have warned that some Scottish Government targets will prove unachievable.

The Government, for example, has said it will ban biodegradable waste from going to landfill in 2021. However, in 2017 there was still 1.09 million tonnes of it going in to the ground. That was just half as much as in 2005.

A spokesman for the waste industry lobby, the Environmental Services Association, stressed less than half of rubbish from homes was being recycled. The Government wants to achieve 50 per cent household waste recycling by 2020.

The ESA spokesman said: “Scotland’s household recycling rate continues to stall at around 45%, casting further doubt on our ability to meet the much higher recycling targets of the EU Circular Economy package.

“Closing the predicted 1 million tonne waste capacity gap upon implementation of Scotland’s landfill ban in 2021 is also based on the premise of much higher recycling rates. The Scottish Government is currently looking to recast the way in which Scotland’s waste and resources are managed with a series of ambitions plans across a number of policy areas.

A Scottish ban on dumping such waste could mean huge exports to English landfills - with tens of millions in landfill tax collected south rather than north of the border, according to research for the investigative journalism site The Ferret. Landfill tax rises to £94 per tonne next year.

There was some progress in 2017 on dealing with organic waste. The amount recycled by composting or anaerobic digestion continues to increase with almost 158,000 tonnes more being recycled than in 2011.

The amount of waste diverted from landfill through incineration - for power generation- increased by nearly 15 per cent. That amounted to 760,000 tonnes. Incineration, however, has proved controversial.


Shell Pushes Its Renewable Energy Agenda Forward In The UK

 

 

On December 21, 2017, Royal Dutch Shell announced it was acquiring UK utility and broadband company FirstUtility as part of its plan to expand it business beyond simply producing and selling fossil fuels.  Now that the purchase has been completed, Shell said this week it will rebrand its new subsidiary and switch all of its existing customers electricity from renewable sources, according to a report by Reuters.

Shell renewable energy

In recent days, Shell has expressed its intention of becoming the world’s largest electric utility company while lowering its carbon footprint by 3%. Even if that decrease is minimal, it’s still more than ExxonMobil and the other oil majors are doing.

First Utility, which has around 710,000 energy customers in the UK, will now be known as Shell Energy and joins a small group of energy brands such as Bulb and Octopus Energy that offer all their customers 100% renewable electricity. Shell Energy will offer customers a 3% discount on gasoline and diesel at its large network of service stations. It will also offer discounts on electric vehicle charging.

The company says all of Shell Energy’s electricity will come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels. Some CleanTechnica readers may quibble about whether biofuels should be classified as renewable energy, but it depends on the actual fuels used. Some truly are renewable while others are a cover for fossil fuels repackaged with a green label for the benefit of the gullible. Shell Energy will also continue supplying natural gas to its customers.

“We are building on the disruptive nature of First Utility to give customers something better. We know that renewable electricity is important to them and we are delivering,” Shell Energy Chief Executive Officer Colin Crooks said in a statement. He says it will invest about $2 billion a year in renewables and low carbon businesses as it bets on a rapid growth in demand as the world battles climate change.

Should we all go out and start celebrating in the streets because the renewable energy revolution is now complete? Hardly. There’s still a long way to go and short time to get there, but the trickle of good news is turning into a stream. How long before that stream turns into a river and then becomes a flood? Sooner than you may think.


UK Power Market in Six Hour Negative Pricing Territory

‘Unprecedented’ events send UK power market into negative pricing for six hours straight

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

UK wholesale power prices dipped into negative pricing for more than six hours yesterday following an “unprecedented turn of events” in the country’s supply and demand profile.

Yesterday (Sunday 24 March 2019) witnessed the UK’s system price dip to -£50/MWh from settlement period 21 (10:00 – 10:30am) and remain negative until 4:30pm as the country basked in unseasonably warm and bright conditions.

Indeed, Limejump’s energy trading team noted that the price fell as low as -£70.24/MWh during settlement periods 28 and 29, a steep decline that it attributed to the “shock effect of the sudden sunny weather” that sent the public outdoors and system demand falling in tandem, resulting in what the energy trader billed as an “unprecedented turn of events”.

Drax's Electricity Insights Report has portrayed the event, showing the impact on the country's wholesale price curve.

Image: Drax Electricity Insights.

Image: Drax Electricity Insights.

Tweets from National Grid’s ESO Control Room Twitter account yesterday morning placed national electricity demand at 30.7GW at 10am and 31.2GW at 11am, a steep decline on the 34GW of demand recorded the previous Sunday.

This occurred at the same time as significantly higher than expected quantities of renewable power on the grid. Limejump noted that solar generation peaked at 7.7GW yesterday, far above the 6.5GW that was forecast and more than double the seasonal average of 3.5GW.

At the same time wind generation did not dip below 25% of supply from 5am onwards and, from 11am – 1pm, combined with solar to provide more than 49% of the country’s power.

Limejump added that the “black swan” event left National Grid with no option but to instruct power plants to turn down.

It’s not the first time the UK has witnessed wholesale prices dip into negative figures, with periods in both January and August last year witnessing negative pricing on the back of surging wind production.


Shell rebrands First Utility as Shell Energy, unveils renewables supply drive

Image: Shell

Image: Shell

Shell has rebranded First Utility as Shell Energy and switched all of its residential customers to 100% renewable power as it places the UK supply market firmly in its crosshairs.

The O&G major will also be introducing a range of smart home technology solutions to its offering throughout the year, with smart thermostats and domestic EV chargers being made available from today.

Colin Crooks, chief executive at Shell Energy Retail, said the firm was building on the “disruptive nature” First utility adopted.

“We know that renewable electricity is important to them and we are delivering that, while ensuring good value and rewarding loyalty,” he said.

Shell Energy customers will receive 100% renewable electricity as standard, exclusive discounts at Shell fuel stations and on broadband, providing a hint at a possible future for bundled home services.

All customers who sign up to a three-year, fixed-price contract will receive a Nest E smart thermostat and installation for free. A NewMotion Home Fast charge point will be offered at £349 – a 15% discount on its retail price – including six months free access to so-called ‘smart services’.

Shell completed its acquisition of First Utility last year and has since been on something of a clean energy technology spending spree, buying up German battery storage manufacturer sonnen and UK-based flexibility specialist Limejump in quick succession.

Mark Gainsborough, executive vice president for Shell New Energies, added: “This is a good example of our approach to building a significant electricity business, in line with customer needs. Shell recognises the world needs more energy with lower emissions and this will give customers more flexibility, greater control and cleaner energy.”


Coal collapse continues as SSE closes Fiddler’s Ferry unit

Image: SSE.

Fiddler's Ferry power station. Image: SSE.

Earlier this week SSE announced that it would be closing the 485MW Unit 1 at Fiddler’s Ferry, based in Warrington, Cheshire, after receiving board approval to do so.

The power station’s remaining three units will continue to operate as normal due to them receiving Capacity Market contracts, but the plant’s overall capacity will slide from 1995MW to 1510MW.

SSE said it will continue to keep the long-term future of the power station under review.

It’s the second time in as many months that the UK’s coal fleet has been dealt a blow after EDF confirmed last month that it is to shut its 2GW Cottam power station, blaming “challenging market conditions” for rendering it uneconomical.

Statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy earlier this month confirmed that coal-fired power generation had witnessed further declines throughout 2018, with low carbon generation accounting for a record high of 49.6% of supply.

Unabated coal generation is to be phased out of the UK’s power mix by 2025, with all thermal generating capacity having to abide by an emissions intensity cap of 450g CO2/kWh – a figure broadly in line with gas generation – by 1 October of that year.


Carbon capture: Shell, BP, Tata Steel, and Drax join £1m UK advisory group

The CCUS Advisory Group, backed by £1m of funding, includes representatives from Shell, BP, Tata Steel, Drax, and National Grid

Leading players from across the UK's carbon intensive energy, oil, and steel industries have joined together to form a new government-backed advisory group, in a bid to accelerate the development of carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) technology.

The CCUS Advisory Group, which is backed by up to £1m of government and industry support, includes representatives from major corporates such as BP, Shell, Tata Steel, National Grid, Cadent, and Drax, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced yesterday.

CCUS technology is seen as key to decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors such as cement, steel, and energy production, by potentially capturing and storing or repurposing CO2 emissions generated in the process before they entering the atmosphere.

Carbon capture technology is currently being trialled at Drax's biomass plant in North Yorkshire, in what the energy firm hopes will help pioneer further development in negative emissions technologies.

More broadly, however, CCUS has struggled to take off in the UK, with development costs seen as a major barrier.

As a result, the new industry-led CCUS group has been tasked with addressing these cost concerns by providing expert advice to the government on the financial frameworks needed to underpin investment and growth in the sector.

It will also provide advice on the potential incentives and regulations needed for the development of a UK market in CCUS, in support of the government's ambition, announced in November, to have the UK's first full carbon capture project up and running from the mid-2020s, it added.

The government has also confirmed £170m will go towards developing what it hopes to be the world's first net zero cluster of heavy industrial plants by 2040, with CCUS expected to play a key role. Nevertheless, the funding figure pales in comparison to the £1bn CCS competition which was scrapped by the government in 2015 by then Chancellor George Osborne.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced the new advisory body yesterday during a meeting of the government's CCUS Council.

"The UK will continue to thrive as a world leader in clean growth technologies like carbon capture through our ambitious modern Industrial Strategy," she said. "The new advisory group will help ensure that we take full advantage of the potential of this emerging industry, with a view to deploying the first CCUS facility in the UK from the mid-2020s."

Among other issues and potential development barriers, the CCUS Advisory Group has also been given a brief to: examine risk allocation and risk management solutions; consider the delivery capabilities need to support deployment of the technology; assess the impacts of competitive pressure to drive cost reduction; and to provide estimated costings for prospective CCUS projects.

Luke Warren, chief executive of the UK's Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA), welcomed the new partnership between industry and government, and called for 2019 to be the "year of action" to make sure the UK's first CCUS project is commissioned by the mid-2020s.

"In the year when the government will consider how to achieve net zero emissions, all the evidence points to CCUS being essential if we are to have any hope of reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement," he said. "The establishment of this new Advisory Group shows that government and industry are prepared to work together to make this happen, and the CCSA looks forward to supporting the government's ambition of becoming a world leader in this crucial technology."

In related news, US developer Carbon Engineering yesterday revealed it has raised $68m in a private investment round to help demonstrate and commercialise its carbon dioxide removal technology.

The firm said the funding was the largest investment made into Direct Air Capture, a technology which it claims can suck CO2 directly from the atmosphere at a cost of less than $100 per tonne.