Another energy recovery facility gets the go-ahead

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There’s more good news from the world of waste management and recycling with the announcement that yet another energy recovery facility has been given the go-ahead by forward-thinking councils.

The latest one is at Canford in Dorset, and area just to the north of Poole that is both a large area of heathland, but is also surrounded by a busy industrial estate that already has an existing waste management and transfer site serving much of the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area of west Dorset.

According to reports, waste treatment firm New Earth Solutions has been granted permission for their facility in Dorset that will generate up to 10MW of power from fuel produced at their existing site nearby.

It’ll be powered by Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) from the company’s Mechanical Biological Treatment plant that deals with mainly domestic waste. The site separates plastics and metals for further recycling, while biological waste is composted and the remainder converted into RDF pellets.

At the moment, the company’s RDF is transported abroad for use – with subsequent costs involved both in terms of money and wasted energy in the transportation process – so it makes both economic and ecological sense for the energy generation process to be carried out nearby. Sending RDF abroad is a tremendous waste of resources, and recent estimates put this export at somewhere over three quarters of a million tonnes in the last year alone.

New Earth Solutions aren’t new to this business – they’ve been supplying electricity to the national grid from their site near Bristol since earlier this year, and are looking to roll-out further similar plants around the UK. With forecasters saying the Britain is heading toward an energy generation crisis within the next few years, these new plants, however modest, will go some small way toward filling that gap.

Elsewhere, other companies are getting in on the act, with an anaerobic digestion plant for processing up to 50,000 tons of food waste per year given the go-ahead in the east of London. The plant in Dagenham means that wasted food in the capital is converted back into both renewable energy and fertilisers.

While anaerobic plants in urban areas have been given a rough ride by planners and local residents alike, it’s encouraging to see that their urgent need is being addressed.

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