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Wheelabrator achieves commercial operations at two UK WtE facilities

US-headed Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., has realized major milestones in the UK in 2019 when two new waste-to-energy (WtE) facilities reached full commercial operations. After three years of construction, the creation of approximately 1 500 jobs and U$110 000 in contributions to local community causes and initiatives – Wheelabrator Parc Adfer, located at Deeside in North Wales, and Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) in West Yorkshire – commenced operations in late December 2019.

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Like Ferrybridge 1 (FM1), FM2 waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, UK, will be run with Valmet's automation technology (image courtesy Multifuel Energy Ltd).
In February 2017, the Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 (FM1), waste-to-energy (WtE) plant in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, UK, completed 1 million tonne milestone since commencing operations in July 2015 (image courtesy Multifuel Energy Ltd). Like Ferrybridge 1 (FM1), FM2 waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, UK, will be run with Valmet's automation technology (image courtesy Multifuel Energy Ltd).

Combined, Wheelabrator Parc Adfer and FM2 will process up to 875 000 tonnes of residual waste. Together, they will utilize waste as a fuel to generate a total output of 89 MWe (net), enough electricity to power an estimated 210 000 UK homes and businesses.

The facilities will divert residual waste from landfill, prevent the need for export of waste to continental Europe, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, recycle metals that would otherwise go to landfill and generate clean, renewable baseload energy.

Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 and 2

Wheelabrator Technologies entered the United Kindom (UK) market in 2009 to target Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) and shortly after commenced its support for the startup of the Riverside Resource Recovery Facility in Belvedere, London, leveraging Wheelabrator’s “operational excellence” in the United States (US). over the last 45 years.

The company has since successfully developed, financed and managed the construction of four waste-to-energy facilities. The first to be delivered was the Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 (FM1) plant, part of the Multifuel Energy Ltd (MEL), a 50:50 joint venture between power utility SSE plc and Wheelabrator Technologie, which commenced commercial operations in July 2015.

Built by Switzerland-headed Hitachi Zozen Inova (HZI) to process 675 000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) per annum and generate 72 MWe (net), FM1 is now recognized as one of the most efficient waste-to-energy facilities in the UK.

In the UK, the Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plant has successfully completed its commissioning phase. It has now been handed over by HZI to the client Multifuel Energy (photo courtesy HZI).

FM2 has also been developed by MEL, and was designed and built by HZI after its sister facility, FM1, achieved commercial operation. FM2 will be one of the country’s most efficient waste-to-energy facilities and will generate 72 MW (net) of electricity, and process 675 000 tonnes of waste-derived fuels annually.  At peak construction, an estimated 1 000 people were working on-site, and 43 full-time roles have now been created to operate and maintain FM2 on an ongoing basis.

Parc Adfer first Wheelabrator owned facility

Wheelabrator Technologies was appointed in 2014 to build and operate Wheelabrator Parc Adfer over a 25-year period under a public-private partnership (PPP) with support from the Welsh Government to serve the five local authorities that make up the North Wales Residual Waste Treatment Partnership (NWRWTP): Conwy County Borough Council; Denbighshire County Council; Flintshire County Council; Gwynedd Council and the Isle of Anglesey County Council.

Since commencing full operations in December 2019, Wheelabrator Parc Adfer, built by French engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor Constructions Industrielle de la Méditerranée S.A. (CNIM), has performed “exceptionally well” with an annual processing capacity of 200 000 tonnes of residual waste—including municipal and commercial waste—from the surrounding areas.

Wheelabrator Parc Adfer can process up to 200 000 tonnes of post-recycled waste a year. Post-recycled waste for the facility is provided primarily by the five local authorities which initiated the procurement to achieve long term targets for recycling and the diversion of waste from landfill (photo courtesy CNIM).

The facility is the first Wheelabrator owned and operated facility in the UK, and will operate as a combined heat and power (CHP) enabled facility capable of generating 17 MW (net) of electricity. Over its three-year construction period, Parc Adfer has created more than 500 jobs, 37 new full-time operational roles and benefitted the local economy.

Wheelabrator Kemsley, also being built by CNIM, is currently progressing hot commissioning and is expected to come online in Q2 2020. The facility will process 550 000 tonnes and generate 63 MWe (net) when the facility is taken over from CNIM.

Once all four assets are operational, they will process 2.1 million tonnes) of residual household and commercial waste, and generate 1.1 million MWh (net) of renewable, baseload electricity annually.

This is a significant accomplishment for our business and is transformational for our team in the UK as we commence operations at both Wheelabrator Parc Adfer, and FM2, the second facility within our MEL joint venture with SSE. Growth in this market has been our number one strategic priority and I am proud of our team and our customers for continuing to demand and support sustainable waste management in the UK. Takeover of these two facilities is the result of many years of commitment, hard work and strong partnerships with our customers and the communities we operate within, said Robert Boucher, President, and CEO at Wheelabrator.

Project pipeline

Wheelabrator’s active development pipeline is already well-advanced with a further three UK projects, Wheelabrator Kemsley North in Kent, located next to the almost complete Wheelabrator Kemsley facility, Wheelabrator Harewood in Hampshire, and Skelton Grange in Yorkshire, which will be developed with SSE as part of the MEL joint venture.

We look forward to continuing to develop, deliver and realize the potential of clean energy in the UK. There remains a significant capacity gap in this market, and we continue to explore opportunities to develop new waste-to-energy facilities to ensure local, sustainable waste management solutions, and provide energy security for the UK. With limited landfill space, high landfill taxes, high costs and increasing barriers to exporting waste to continental Europe and the need to invest in baseload electricity generation, Wheelabrator is well-positioned to unlock future opportunities to provide sustainable waste management to local communities, ended Robert Boucher.

An artist’s rendering of the 42 MWe Skelton Grange project being developed by Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., with the support of Multifuel Energy Ltd (MEL), a 50:50 joint venture between Wheelabrator Technologies and SSE plc. The site already has planning consent for a 300 000 tonne per annum energy-from-waste /EfW) facility with a planning application to vary the capacity up to 410,000 tonnes expected to be determined later this year. The facility will create hundreds of new jobs in the construction phase and will employ 40 full-time staff once operational. Wheelabrator has secured the right to purchase 19.5 acres of land at the Skelton Grange site from the Harworth Group. The financial close is targeted for mid-2020, with COD targeted for 2024 (image courtesy Wheelabrator).

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