Boris Johnson marks start of new energy from waste plant

A chilly grey car park in Dagenham was the rather uninspiring backdrop to what was, in fact, a rather inspirational event; the start of works on the UK's biggest low carbon waste plant.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gamely donned a reflective vest and clambered aboard a JCB digger mark the official start of works on the site.

The £80 million plant will take domestic waste and turn it into clean energy via a gasification process.

It is expected to be operational in 2013 and will turn around 100,000 tonnes of waste into around 19 megawatts of energy – enough to power 15,000 local homes.

It is the first large scale advanced gasification plant in the UK.

Boris Johnson said: “This will be a fantastic facility taking our everyday rubbish and miraculously transforming into a valuable resource – electricity.

“Local people can rest easy knowing that instead of any rubbish they are unable to recycle being dumped in a landfill site and emitting harmful greenhouse gas emissions, it will be used to power their homes with green energy.”

The plant is to be built by Biossence East London (BEL) with financial assistance from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) in the form of an £8.9 million loan. Waste will be provided by Shanks Waste Management from its Frog Island facility, less than half a mile from the new plant.

The technology the plant will use is an advanced gasification process that thermally decomposes the processed waste into a useful hydrocarbon rich synthetic gas. This can be used to generate electrical and thermal power through the use of either a steam turbine or a series of gas engines.

The site has been sold by Ford Motor Company, who will also benefit from the energy generated by the facility and add to its renewable energy sources, which also includes two wind turbines.

Alison Brown

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