Construction of England waste gasification plant begins

By Energy Technologies Institute | April 25, 2017

Work has started to build an innovative waste gasification plant in England's West Midlands, creating around 100 construction jobs and 25 new permanent jobs once operational.

The U.K.-based Energy Technologies Institute is investing £5m ($6.4 million) into the SynTech Energy Centre

being built on the site of a former steel fabrication and waste recycling facility in Portway Road, Wednesbury, matching a £5m investment from Denver-based SynTech Bioenergy LLC. 

The project is being led by SynTech Bioenergy UK, based in Aldridge in the West Midlands. Mace is the project manager, and engineering, procurement and construction is being led by Otto Simon Ltd. from Cheadle in Cheshire. 

The gasification technology is being provided by U.S. company Frontline Bioenergy, in which SynTech US is a major stakeholder.

The 1.5-MWe facility, which will produce enough electrical power to supply 2,500 homes, will use advanced gasification to produce power at high efficiency and high reliability from sorted and processed municipal waste.

The project will convert about 40 metric tons (MT) a day of post recycling, refuse derived fuel (RDF) produced locally into a clean syngas. The syngas will then be converted into power using a modified high- efficiency gas engine, and waste heat generated from the engine will be made available to heat a local swimming pool.

The plant is more compact than many other energy from waste designs, and could be suitable for providing heat and power to factories, hospitals as well as being suitable to integrate with heat networks in towns and cities.

It will also incorporate a unique test facility that will allow the testing of new engines, turbines and upgrading processes that produce products from waste-derived clean syngas, including a proprietary methanol production process that boosts product yield significantly over rival technologies

Paul Winstanley, project manager said, “This project is about more than just generating clean electricity, although that is an important first step. The SynTech Energy Centre will produce a clean, consistent high quality syngas from waste in the form of RDF. Producing a clean, high-quality syngas opens up a huge variety of new opportunities, in addition to making clean electricity including the generation of hydrogen, jet fuel and even plastics from wastes.

 The U.K. paid to export 3 million MT of RDF to Europe in 2016. This export market is still rising, and nearly 16 million MT of waste is landfilled of which half could be used as fuel. This technology could be used to convert waste into clean, reliable and economic heat, power, chemicals and fuels on a smaller scale, where it could be used by factories, car plants, hospitals and data centers economically.

Kamal Kalsi, SynTech Bioenergy UK’s chief technology officer, said, “The work in Phase 1 of the project  has permitted us to carry out a significant level of risk assessment and mitigation work to ensure that we can deliver not only a technology that works reliably on a wide range of waste sources, but does so in a cost-effective manner. Our process differs in many key aspects to all others in the marketplace, and we believe that this provides us with key advantages that allow us to meet our technical and commercial objectives. We look forward to being a key part of bringing advanced thermal conversion into a new era of high-efficiency, end-product flexibility, and most importantly, demonstrating the technology to make it more attractive to future investors.”