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Energos looks ahead to Knowsley gasification project

21 September 2011

GAINS Comment - Energos has had to close its gasification incinerator in the Isle of Wight for extended periods for emitting 8 times the legal limit for dioxins. It is now bidding with Viridor for a contract in Glasgow.

With the UK still relatively slow in developing new technologies for treating waste, gasification technology firm Energos is pressing ahead with proposals for new plants.

The company already operates a facility on the Isle of Wight which has had a number of operational problems. The gasifier developed on the island was built using some new and existing plant, and this use of older kit has been a factor in the project difficulties with the plant closed at some points for breaching dioxin levels (see letsrecycle.com story).


Artist's impression of the gasification facility proposed by Energos for Knowsley

Artist's impression of the gasification facility proposed by Energos for Knowsley

Energos UK technical director Tony Grimshaw told letsrecycle.com that the company was looking forward to developing new UK facilities and “with hindsight we might have put in a more traditional boiler on the Isle of Wight. When we agreed the deal with Biffa to receive refuse derived fuel we were negotiating over a short period and investments were being made for a limited timeframe.”

He explained that there is a memory effect of dioxins within the Isle of Wight plant’s pipework but that since October 2010, 15 tests for dioxins had been carried out with one breach found.


Now, the company is setting its sights on building a plant in Knowsley to be fed with commercial and industrial waste as well as being technology providers for some local authority tenders. Energos also has approvals for plants in Irvine, Barry, Newport, Doncaster and Bradford.

It is part of bidding groups for municipal waste contracts in North West Northern Ireland with Shanks and in Glasgow is tendering with Viridor.

Energos managing director Nick Dawber explained that the Knowsley facility had received an “indicative offer of support from a bank”.

And, he emphasised the success of the company across Europe where plants have been open for half a million hours and due diligence has been carried out. “We have proven technology and 11 years of operation.”

Energos, part of UK clean tech group ENER-G, began operating its first advanced thermal conversion facility in Norway at Ranheim in 1997 and recently completed its eight facility at Sarpsborg, Norway.

Mr Dawber said that financing of waste infrastructure remained difficult for new technology suppliers in the UK. “We need the banks to understand the market that if we build a plant, the waste will be there. They seem to get fixated by the fact that we have to get council contracts.”

He added: “Where we offer a solution is on a relatively small-scale scheme with town size being considered rather than city size. On gate fees we would be competitive to landfill and in Knowsley we will be able to sell the heat.”


Energos has also argued that small-scale plant sizes reduce the need for syndicated loans and, unlike large scale conventional energy-from-waste plants, their engineering is less complex, reducing the financial risk further.

Energos has already identified three potential heat customers for plants which will be built south of the East Lancashire Road and, said Mr Dawber “our aim is to press the button to start to build it this financial year”.

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Energos has gone on record in the past to emphasis the role of renewables incentives for its work. The ROCs renewables support scheme applies to the Isle of Wight gasification plant (see letsrecycle.com story). As an advanced conversion technology it receives ROCs for each megawatt hour of renewable electricity generated from the renewable portion of the residual waste (typically more than 60% of the waste).