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England’s secondary fuels export to stabilize in 2022

England’s secondary fuels export to stabilize in 2022
Exports of refuse-derived fuels (RDF) and solid recovered fuels (SRF) from England Europe's largest exporter have declined year on year (photo courtesy Geminor).

England, Europe’s biggest exporter of refuse-derived fuels (RDF) and solid recovered fuels (SRF) reported more than 135 000 tonnes recovered overseas in March 2022, 22 percent less than in March 2021.

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According to a report from market intelligence consultants Footprint Services, this is a reduction of 40 000 tonnes compared to 175 000 tonnes recovered overseas in March 2021.

We believe that the volume for UK export is close to bottoming out, said James Maiden Country Manager at Geminor UK, a subsidiary of Norway-headed waste-based fuels and materials aggregator and supplier Geminor AS (Geminor).

Out of the 135 506 tonnes of secondary fuels reported recovered from England in March 2022, Geminor stood for 29 196 tonnes.

James Maiden
James Maiden, Country Manager Geminor UK (photo courtesy Geminor).

According to the “RDF Activity Report” by Footprint Services, this constitutes 21.5 percent of the English export market in March 2022, helping Geminor maintain its position as the largest biggest exporter of secondary fuels with an overall 13.8 percent market share, followed by Probio (10.7 percent) Andusia Recovered Fuels (9.7 percent) and Bertling Enviro (9.2 percent), respectively.

In total, Geminor UK handled more than 42 000 tonnes of RDF and SRF in March 2022, and exported more than 280 000 tonnes over the last 12 months, including shipments from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.

Export decline

We have seen a considerable change in the UK market since 2018 when the annual export from England was just over 3 million tonnes. In practice, the export market this year is half of what it was five years ago, said James Maiden.

The total monthly export from England in March this year is down by 40 055 tonnes compared to March 2021, when 175 561 tonnes were shipped abroad.

The internal market has grown rapidly and new off-takers are taking a bigger share of the domestic volumes. The new plants are also rigged for optimal capacity and in demand of low CV waste fuels, which has gradually reduced the share of these RDF streams for export. At the same time, COVID, BREXIT, and the ongoing transport challenges brought about by the war in Ukraine have made export more expensive, James Maiden said.

The annual export of RDF/SRF (March 21 to March 22) is reported at 1,6 million – down by 2,3 percent from the previous year.

The most recent market figures, in addition to feedback from our offices around Europe, make us believe that the decline in exports is starting to level off and that we are reaching a more stable English export market of 1 to 1.5 million tonnes annually, said James Maiden.

James Maiden explains that the volumes for exported secondary fuels registered this winter may still be uncertain.

A more turbulent market and fewer export volumes from the UK are leading to more stockpiling of secondary fuels this season. Since export volumes are not registered in the Environment Agency datasets before the RDF is verifiably recovered, some of the shipped volumes are still not part of the statistics. Our job now will be to secure the volumes of the right quality for off-takers overseas, but also for our off-takers within the UK, ended James Maiden.

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