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UK waste and recycling firm, Biffa, has submitted a scoping report for changes that would increase capacity to 350,000 tonnes per year at its planned Newhurst Quarry waste to energy facility, and output from 21 MW to 33 MW.

Planning consent for the facility was originally from the Secretary of State in June 2012. However, Biffa explained recent months it has undertaken detailed design, engineering and technical reviews of the original planning consent to increase the plant’s overall energy efficiencies and electricity generating capacity.

The company said that the detailed review that it has now submitted to Leicestershire County Council was required as the previous technical specifications for the facility were designed in 2009.

According to Biffa, since then, there have been many engineering, design and component advances which could increase the overall efficiency of this facility, without changing the plant’s overall size and scale, or increases to the previous permitted number of fuel deliveries to Newhurst.

The review has concluded that there are a number of areas where the plant could be optimised, principally with internal technical and engineering amendments, which will increase power production and overall electricity output of the facility from 21 MW to 33 MW.

The new designs, which will require planning variation permission from Leicestershire County Council, could see the plant being able to meet the equivalent electricity requirements of 66,000 homes.

“Since obtaining planning permission for the Newhurst energy recovery facility in 2012 Biffa has taken the opportunity to refine and improve the facility’s design, so as to improve energy efficiencies and overall performance which will significantly increase the amount of electricity the plant can produce,” explained Mike Thair, development director at Biffa.

“this project is now moving to the next stage of implementation,” he added.

According to Thair, as well as providing a major contribution towards sustainable energy generation and waste management in Leicestershire, the waste to energy project will bring £250 million of investment to the area with 40 full time jobs, hundreds more during construction and more still through contractors and suppliers over the plant’s life.

Biffa said that it will continue to update people as it prepares the planning variation application which is set to be submitted to the County Council in the summer.

The proposed changes include:

  • Replacement of the original two process lines with a single process line. With improvements to the chosen technology, it is possible to install a single line capable of processing up to 350,000 tpa of feedstock within the approved building envelope. The new design would enable the power output from the site to be increased from 21MW to 33MW, an increase of some 57% for a corresponding increase of only 17% in fuel feedstock. There is also an increase in energy efficiency of the plant. The proposed increase in throughputs from 300,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes is still well within currently permitted approved maximum capacity of 375,000 tonnes per annum for the Newhurst site and would not result in a requirement to increase the HGV movement restrictions on the site
  • Having a single process line means that only one flue stack would be needed
  • The change in the internal arrangements means that flue stack would be moved slightly such that its base is within the building envelope
  • Provision of additional cooling fans to improve process efficiency
  • The use of a single process line releases space inside the building such that the office and ancillary accommodation would be housed within the main building rather than being in a ‘wing’ on the side of the building
  • The canopy roof over the IBA storage and maturation area is no longer required and processed IBA would weather better without it (IBA processing would still be carried out within the building envelope). The IBA maturation area will still be screened with “green” walling. External maturation and storage is standard practice at other operational ERF plants
  • Minor changes to the internal site road layout.

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