UK Government Funds Pioneering Waste to Biomethane Plant

| United Kingdom, Swindon

Advanced Plasma Power facilityWaste from local homes and businesses will be transformed into sustainable biomethane to power heavy goods vehicles following a successful application for funding by UK consortium Advanced Plasma Power (APP). The waste to energy and fuels company has been awarded £11m (USD 17m) in government funding to develop and build the first-ever plant of its kind in Swindon, 70 kms east of London.

The grant has been awarded to APP and its partners National Grid, clean energy firm Progressive Energy, and CNG Services, a company which provides gas for use in vehicles, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) programme to develop and commercialise the technologies required to decarbonise the transport sector.

John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services, said: “A high proportion of waste is not suitable for anaerobic digestion; the APP gasification pathway means that this waste will be able to be used as a vehicle fuel, with sufficient resource for all UK trucks to move from diesel to Bio-CNG. As such, this project is hugely significant in the journey to decarbonise transport by 2050.”

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, agrees: “Biofuels have an important role to play in keeping Britain moving forward in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. Advanced biofuels have the potential to save at least 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the equivalent fossil fuel. Swindon’s successful bid shows how the government is investing in transport and making better, clean journeys.”

The consortium has been working together over the last five years on a project to produce a renewable natural gas made from waste that can be pumped into the UK’s gas pipeline network which provides an excellent means of distributing the fuel to where it is needed. APP says the new plant in Swindon will be the first of its kind in the world, taking residual waste – the UK’s largest sustainable source of biomass – and converting it into compressed biomethane, using APP’s pioneering Gasplasma® technology. Enough fuel will be produced for 75 heavy goods vehicles, equivalent to all of the buses currently operating in Swindon.

Rolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, said: “The grant highlights the important role our technology can play in producing clean biofuels from waste on a local basis, so as to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from both the waste management as well as transport sectors without the requirement to give over large swathes of land to growing energy crops. From an economic, environmental and social perspective it presents a real triple win.

“Our state-of-the-art process can unlock the enormous value of residual waste as a resource and provides a cost-effective means of converting such waste to fuels such as bio-methane. Our expectation is that this plant will lead the way to a new generation of ultimate recycling facilities both in the UK and around the world.”

David Parkin, Director of Network Strategy at National Grid, also commented: “We believe that the use of renewable gas as a fuel in the transport sector will play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. The benefits of using household waste to create fuel for HGVs and buses is clear; lower emissions, quieter engine noise and favourable fuel prices.”

Biomethane can be used interchangeably with natural gas in heavy goods vehicles and is significantly less carbon-intensive and less polluting than diesel. It has the potential to cut transport carbon emissions by up to 96 per cent.

Construction of the plant will begin in 2016 and the consortium has already found local customers for the product and suppliers for the feedstock. The post-recycling residual waste will be provided by a local source, and the gas produced will be used by local haulage company, Howard Tenens, and consortium partner CNG Services.

The use of gas as a transport fuel is growing in the UK. John Lewis already uses it for some heavy goods vehicles, whilst some bus services operated in Reading and Sunderland also run on the fuel.

(Source: Advanced Plasma Power)

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