Major retailer set to power up with clean-tech EfW

Air Products has secured its first power offtake agreement with a high street retail chain for electricity generated by its advanced gasification facility when it goes live in 2014.

Details of the agreement will not be formally disclosed until next month, but it is a significant step forward for the Teeside project, which is being hailed as the world’s biggest energy-from-waste facility when it enters commercial production.

The 50MW Tees Valley facility will also host a demonstrator plant on-site for hydrogen generation from residual waste. Air Products confirmed to edie that is working with a fuel cell partner on this.

“A year to 18 months after start-up of the gasification facility, we will be looking to explore this,” said Air Products’ bioenergy business manager Lisa Jordan.

Air Products is the world’s largest hydrogen producer with over 150 hydrogen fuelling stations worldwide.

The US-based company also has expertise in building and operating large-scale industrial gas and energy-related projects and sees the UK’s residual waste market as a potentially lucrative source for renewable energy generation.

According to Jordan, the UK stood out from the rest of Europe as a base to invest in due to its heavy reliance on landfill and relatively stable regulatory environment.

“We haven’t invested massively in energy-from-waste infrastructure over here … this creates a real opportunity for us and should increase investor confidence in these type of technologies,” she said.

Air Products’ waste partner for the Tees Valley site is Impetus Group who operates a landfill site nearby. Under the agreement, Impetus will pay a gate fee to Air Products to supply residual material from both municipal and commercial streams.

Jordan revealed that the company is already embarking on plans for a second UK plant, but that it was “months away from being able to talk about it”.

She added that there is a license agreement in place to build five more facilities nationwide in the future and that the company is “actively seeking” other waste partners to work with.

“Our goal would be to try and replicate what we are doing on Teeside. Advanced gasification stood out [for us] as an exciting technology because of its flexibility and futureproof nature for renewable energy generation,” Jordan said.

Maxine Perella

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