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Stable flame achieved in SIMEC Uskmouth Power FEED tests

In the United Kingdom (UK), SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd, a global developer, owner, and operator of sustainable energy projects with a diverse portfolio of more than 1 GW in various stages of development has announced that a stable flame has been achieved in testing proving the combustion performance of 100 percent waste-derived fuel pellets for its 220 MWe Uskmouth Power plant conversion project in Newport, South Wales.

Uskmouth Power Plant (photo courtesy SIMEC Atlantis Energy).

As part of its Uskmouth Power Station coal to energy pellet conversion project, SIMEC Atlantis Energy plans to build an energy pellet adjacent to the power station via a joint venture with N+P Group. The energy pellet plant will divert around 600 000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and paper waste per annum from landfill (photo courtesy SIMEC Atlantis Energy).

Uskmouth – which previously was coal-fired – is being converted into a 220 MWe baseload power plant which will use fuel pellets derived from waste. The pellets contain a high proportion of plastic waste which cannot be economically or technically recycled and so may otherwise be sent to landfill. The project is the world’s first conversion of a coal-fired power station to use waste-derived fuel.

According to an operational update, the Uskmouth conversion project is on track to commence operations by 2021 and that Front End Engineering Design (FEED) tests and studies have been successfully completed by the FEED partners WSP UK Ltd, RJM Corporation Technical Services Ltd, and Simec Subcoal Fuels (SSF), a 50:50 joint venture between N+P Group and SIMEC Energy.

A stable flame has been achieved in medium scale testing, proving the stable combustion of 100 percent waste-derived fuel pellets

We are extremely pleased with the progress being made at the Uskmouth conversion project which is on track to become operational in 2021. Today we are announcing a significant milestone for the project. FEED tests and studies have been successfully completed, with the largest test burn of the waste-derived fuel pellets completed to date, and tenders have been issued for the next phase of the conversion, said David Taaffe, Director of Project Delivery at SIMEC Atlantis Energy.

These results correlate to the computational fluid dynamics model and confirm a stable self-sustaining flame with combustion performance within expected parameters. A contract tender has been issued for the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of the full combustion system, including large scale combustion testing.

A review of the plant life extension and return to service for all areas of the existing plant has been completed by WSP and RJM, enabling the commencement of intrusive return to service surveys for the 220 MWe conversion.

Teesport commissioning and EIA

The project is expected to cost approximately GBP 185 million (≈ EUR 205.1 million) and will extend the operational life of the Uskmouth power plant by 20 years. Following conversion, Uskmouth will use approximately 900 000 tonnes per annum of fuel pellets derived from waste which might otherwise have been sent to landfill.

Once operational, Uskmouth is expected to generate 1 500 GWh of sustainable energy every year, enough to power just under 500 000 UK homes. The new fuel pellets provide use for waste which might otherwise be destined for landfill or incineration, instead of efficient electricity production. This is the world’s first conversion of a power station from coal to 100 percent waste-derived fuel and the project will be the blueprint for other conversions around the world. We are already receiving high levels of interest from other asset-owners looking to replicate the Uskmouth conversion process, said Taaffe.

Last month, N+P Group started commissioning a new pellet facility in Teesport, England, which is capable of supplying fuel to Uskmouth power station. As previously announced, three further UK waste-derived pellet facilities are planned to supply fuel to the project.

Environmental planning and permitting for the project is progressing well and the project has now reached a design freeze for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), which is a critical milestone in the planning application process.

An industrial scale fuel production run and milling test will take place in the latter half of 2019. The contract for the combustion system will be also be awarded in the latter half of  2019 after which industrial scale combustion tests are expected to be carried out and a comprehensive intrusive inspection and testing programme for the return to service works will be undertaken through Q3 and Q4 2019.

The appointment of financial advisers is expected in Q3 2019 to advise on the financial close of the conversion project. A full contract tender for the remaining conversion works is anticipated to be issued in Q1 2020

We are ramping up investment in the Uskmouth conversion project this year as it is such an important project to our shareholders, the environment and the Welsh economy. The Uskmouth team is world class. This project has become an important blueprint for the plans of coal-fired asset owners and policymakers around the world. It will also be transformational for Atlantis in terms of revenue and cash flow generation. The regeneration and repurposing of coal-fired power stations to consume waste-derived fuel and deliver baseload, low cost electricity is the utopian industrial story for governments around the world, remarked Tim Cornelius, CEO at SIMEC Atlantis Energy.

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