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Successful waste pellet combustion tests a significant milestone for Uskmouth

In the UK, SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (Atlantis), a diversified sustainable energy generation company, has announced the successful completion of industrial-scale combustion testing of the waste-derived fuel pellets to be used at the Uskmouth Conversion Project.

The N+P Subcoal stand at the RWM 2019 trade show in Birmingham, UK.

The N+P Subcoal stand at the RWM 2019 trade show in Birmingham, UK.

In October 2019, Atlantis announced that it had awarded Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe GmbH (MHPS) the contract to carry out the design and development of the combustion system for the flagship Uskmouth Conversion Project in Newport, Wales.

This contract included the largest ever combustion testing of the waste-derived fuel pellets, which will be used as fuel in the plant, at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’s Research & Innovation Centre in Nagasaki, Japan.

Successful large-scale feeding and combustion tests

Successful completion of this testing is a significant milestone for the project. The test conclusively proves that a pulverised fuel burner based on MHPS’s DS Ultra Low NOx burner can be used to stably combust the waste-derived fuel unsupported – in other words without any oil or gas support firing.

The burner was able to operate continuously at 25 MW thermal power using the fuel and is comparable in rating to the burners required for the Uskmouth Conversion Project.

During the testing, MHPS established that it was possible to feed large volumes of pulverised fuel to the burner via a pneumatic system without disturbances, at a rate that is comparable to that required at the Uskmouth Conversion Project.

MHPS also investigated and confirmed that flue gas emissions were within anticipated levels and that the burner was able to achieve expected low nitrogen oxides (NOx) performance whilst maintaining low carbon monoxide (CO) levels.

We were delighted to work with Atlantis on the combustion testing for the flagship Uskmouth project and we always believed that the successful completion of this large-scale testing will open up a huge new market globally for MHPS and Atlantis for future similar conversions. The testing couldn’t have gone better and we are delighted that the results pave the way for this successful project and huge global, future opportunities, commented Falk Hoffmeister, Vice President Head of Service of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe.

Final pre-EPC detailed design underway

Following the successful completion of the test, the final stages of the pre-engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) detailed design contract are now underway.

Final design studies include using the successful combustion test results to validate the computational fluid dynamics modelling, carrying out a more detailed Uskmouth boiler system refurbishment design, and confirming the requirements for refurbishment and enhancement of the existing flue gas treatment system.

MHPS will have completed all of this work by Q4 2020 at which point they will be able to make an offer for a fixed price supply of the combustion system under an EPC contract with terms and conditions suitable for project finance.

Designer waste-derived pellets

The bespoke fuel pellets, designed and produced by project partner and leading Dutch alternative fuel specialist N+P Group, contain approximately 50 percent biogenic waste material such as paper and cardboard, with the remainder made up predominantly of plastic waste.

After two years of development, we are delighted with the achieved results, a major milestone for everyone involved in the project. The bespoke pellet, specially designed for the demanding environment of a pulverized fuel furnace, performed very well in the trials. This result gives us as a company a lot of confidence that the flagship Uskmouth project will prove to the world that coal-fired power plants can be converted to use bespoke waste-derived fuels and in this way contribute to reducing non-recyclable waste going to landfills as well as contributing to a significant CO2 reduction for power generation, said Lars Jennissen, Chief Development Officer of N+P Group.

The waste used to make the pellets is not currently economically recyclable and therefore, if not used in the production of fuel pellets, would be sent to landfill or diverted from landfill to purpose-built waste-to-energy (WtE) plants or exported for use abroad.

The successful completion of the fuel combustion testing is a major milestone for this flagship conversion project and represents a very important step in the program towards achieving financial close. This project is the world’s first example of a coal-fired power station being repurposed to run on 100 percent waste-derived fuel pellets and the results of this test will potentially have material implications for the way plastic waste, and aging coal-fired power stations, is managed globally in the future, said Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis Energy.

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