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UK waste and recycling firm, Viridor has begun using Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for full commissioning at its 70 MW waste to energy facility in Runcorn, near Manchester UK.

Viridor – a part of the Pennon Group (LSE: PNN) – explained that while commissioning of Phase1 of the Runcorn waste to energy plant began in January, the ‘first burn’ using RDF signals the final stages of testing and commissioning before the site becomes fully operational.

The company added that much of the RDF for Runcorn will be transported by rail and the railhead delivery points have also been successfully tested.

The facility will also produce 51 MW of heat, in addition to electricity, all of which will be utilised by the neighbouring INEOS facility – covering around 20% of its total energy demand.

The company added that the facility will offer local authorities, including the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, as well as businesses, an alternative to sending non-recyclable waste to landfill or exporting it for treatment in Europe.

According to Viridor the plant will operate in conjunction with concerted efforts to ensure that customers are able to recycle as much as possible. Prior to being used as fuel at the plant, waste will be passed through a pre-treatment process to remove materials for recycling either at a Viridor or authorised third party site.

Runcorn Phase 2 is scheduled to accept RDF later this year with takeover of the entire facility expected in late 2014.

The total project represents a £452 million investment, which Viridor said is creating around 80 permanent jobs within the facility as well as having employed up to 1100 people during peak construction.

Once operating at full capacity the waste to energy facility is expected to process up to 850,000 tonnes of RDF each year.

“The development also comes hot on the heels of the lifting of the road inputs restriction at Runcorn, which will enable a sensible mix of transport methods to serve the site – allowing businesses and local authorities within the region to access the landfill diversion potential of the plant,” commented Viridor operations director, Mark Burrows-Smith.

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