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£13m ETI project looks to develop super efficient gasification plant

Green innovation news - by GreenWise staff
4th April 2012
The starting gun has been fired on developing a new super efficient gasification plant to turn waste into electricity and heat.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has today launched a 'request for proposals’ for a new £13 million project to help design and build a next generation energy from waste demonstration plant that could generate energy at efficiencies significantly higher than previously produced. The ETI’s vision is to design an 'Integrated Gasification of Waste with Gas Clean-Up’ plant that could operate at a net electrical efficiency of 25 per cent, much higher than current incineration plants in the UK, where net efficiency can range from zero to around 15 per cent.

Each year, the UK generates approximately 280 million tonnes (Mt) of waste, more than half of which is still sent to landfill. Under EU regulations, the UK must reduce its waste to landfill to 35 per cent by 2020 and will have to have stopped sending all biodegradable waste to landfill by 2025. 

Gasification plants
Approximately 10 per cent of the current UK waste is incinerated. And while a number of large-scale gasification plants are planned or under construction in the UK, so far the only operational one is a community-scale one which opened on the Isle of Wight in 2008. 

But with the right technological advancements, it is estimated that bio energy could contribute up to two to four per cent of UK energy needs by 2050, helping to divert waste from landfill. Gasifiers in Japan coupled with direct combustion, already operate at about 20 per cent net electrical efficiency, according to the ETI.

"Bio Energy should be a key component of any future energy systems mix to meet the demands of providing affordable, clean and secure energy," said ETI chief executive Dr David Clarke. 

Extensive research
"We have already completed an extensive analysis of the existing energy from waste technologies, as well as the breakdown of typical UK municipal, commercial and industrial waste.

"From this research we believe that improved technology for the integrated gasification of waste together with gas clean-up and subsequent combustion of this cleaned gas in either a gas reciprocating engine or turbine would provide an effective and efficient solution. 

"Our modelling indicates that such a plant design could operate at a net efficiency of 25 per cent, which significantly exceeds the performance of current plants in operation."

The aim of the ETI is to design the test demonstrator by 2014 and for the plant to be operational by 2016.

The deadline for notification of intention to submit a proposal is Thursday June 7 2012. The closing date for submissions is Monday July 2.

The ETI is a partnership company between the Government and global industrial groups BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell, which is helping to deliver large-scale engineering solutions that will help decarbonise the UK energy system.

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£13m ETI project looks to develop super efficient gasification plant
The UK's first gasification plant was built on the Isle of Wight
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