Households in the Isle of Wight could become the first in the UK to benefit from a revolutionary technology which allows communities to deal with their own waste in an environmentally responsible way.

The ENER.G group is proposing to retrofit its Energos gasification technology to the Isle of Wight waste treatment plant, which handles domestic waste. ENER.G is in talks with DEFRA to obtain funding under its new technology demonstrator programme – if it is successful, DEFRA will purchase about £2.5 million of services in a demonstration period investigating the performance of the technology.

The Energos technology has been developed in Norway for both domestic and commercial waste. It has been commercially proven at six sites located throughout Norway and Germany.

The plants are capable of converting non-recyclable waste into useful energy with low environmental emissions, and the practicality of their design permits them to be sited near to the communities they serve.

“Sensible recycling must form the backbone of the UK’s waste strategy,” says Nick Dawber of Energos, “but there will always be a proportion of waste that can’t be recovered.”

Rather than incinerate the waste, Energos uses what is known as advanced conversion technology: heat is recovered from the thermal treatment process to produce steam that can supply industry, generate electrical power, or provide heating or hot water for nearby consumers.

In the case of the Isle of Wight project, 2.3MWe of electricity will be generated; the bulk, enough for 2,000 homes, will be exported into the local electricity distribution network. The process also has low emissions, which are claimed to outperform by a significant margin the requirements of the relevant EU emissions standards.

These relatively small plants are ideal for construction alongside existing recycling facilities. The Isle of Wight plant will be handling 30,000 tonnes of waste each year, but this technology has the capability of processing up to 80,000 tonnes per annum, yielding as much as 210GWh of thermal energy.

Whereas in parts of the UK, some domestic waste is transported hundreds of miles to end up being dumped in a landfill site, the Energos solution is locally sited within the community – cutting road haulage costs, traffic congestion and exhaust emissions.

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