VIDEO: Sir Steve Redgrave opens Avonmouth MBT facility

A mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility, which can treat up to 200,000 tonnes of waste a year, has opened near Bristol with plans in place to build an energy plant on site to produce biogas in 2012.

The New Earth Solutions (NES) site, which sorts and recycles municipal waste from Bristol, Bath, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, and the surrounding areas, was officially opened last week (September 8) by Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, who spoke of the important role waste recycling facilities play in helping to divert waste from landfill and protect the environment.

It was awarded a contract by the West of England Partnership, which comprises of Bristol City, Bath, north east and north Somerset and south Gloucestershire councils, to treat municipal and commercial waste from the region. Planning permission for the facility was given in November 2009.

NES’s operations director, Peter Mills, told edieWaste it reached financial close in April 2010, and started receiving waste on 1 April 2011. The site, which currently employs 34 people, is situated on a former zinc melting works, began decontamination in April 2010, while the facility itself took eight months to construct.

As a result of the success of its waste facility, NES has now received planning permission to build a renewable energy plant next to the existing waste facility, which will enable it to convert a percentage of the waste into biogas.

It is anticipated that the energy plant will generate around 7.5MW of renewable green energy, using advanced thermal conversion technology – equivalent to the energy needs of around 13,000 households.

As part of the works, the 10.5 acre site receives around 47,000 tonnes of waste each year from Bristol City Council, which is its largest supplier, while the remainder of waste comes from the Bath area.

The technology uses an automated stabilisation process which incorporates active aeration, dynamic agitation and irrigation, which enables it to divert around 80% of the biodegradable municipal waste it receives from landfill.

In the future, NES expects approximately 18-20% of the waste to come out as treated compost, 40% as gas to energy, 30% as bioenergy and 10% as industrial fuel. The waste is composted in 40 days and can be used agriculturally for non-food use.

Carys Matthews

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