Submission from Shanks Waste Management
We welcome your inquiry into renewable energy
We note that you are particularly interested
in the current state of UK research and development in, and the
deployment of, a wide range of renewable energy-generation technologies.
We would like to draw your attention to the
contribution which the production of solid recovered fuel (SRF)
from municipal solid waste (MSW) can make to security of energy
supplies, stable energy prices and achieving UK climate change
Shanks is one of Europe's largest independent
waste and resource management companies offering a wide range
of waste management solutions within its various collection, transport,
recycling, treatment and disposal services. Shanks employs over
4,000 people across its operations in the Netherlands, Belgium
and the UK, where it is involved with a number of long term PFI
contracts to supply waste management services to Local Authorities.
Shanks has developed a solution which, through
investment in new recycling and recovery infrastructure, significantly
shifts the business of traditional waste management towards resource
management, making a significant contribution to renewable energy
targets, achieving landfill diversion and carbon dioxide reduction
cost-effectively and efficiently. This solution is based on the
use of a Mechanical Biological Treatment process (MBT) which along
with kerbside collection, civic amenity site management, and composting
forms part of the range of services which Shanks offers.
Mechanical Biological Treatment is a generic
term applied to a range of technologies for the treatment of residual
municipal solid waste (MSW). Shanks use a form of MBT that uses
the biodegradable fraction of MSWessentially anything that
degrades through natural bacterial action, as a source of heat.
Elevated temperatures within the mass of waste and sustained airflow
across and through it stabilises and sanitises the waste over
a period of 10-14 days as well as reducing the overall mass by
around 25%. The resultant, dried, "stabilate" material
can then be subjected to further refinement to recover stones,
glass and metals etc to produce Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF). With
a calorific value two-thirds that of coal, and a "carbon
neutral" content in the order of 60%, SRF brings with it
intrinsic economic and environmental value in terms of its contribution
to the energy mix. I am attaching a short briefing paper which
explains Shanks's MBT process in more detail (not printed).
The potential scale of the contribution which
could be made by SRF to the UK energy mix is significant. A report
prepared for the ICE
in 2005, stated that up to 17% of the UK's electricity requirements
could be met by the exploitation of the energy potential from
such fuel. Certainly the timescales within which significant quantities
of fuel may become available should be of interest. Over the next
five years, long term contracts for the management of over 7.5
million tonnes of MSW the precursor to recovered fuels, will be
SRF is a renewable fuel that can be used either
as a direct replacement for fossil fuels within a variety of processes
or as a dedicated source of power through advanced thermal treatments
such as gasification.
SRF PRODUCTION FACILITIES
Shanks has a number of SRF production facilities
under construction, two of which are located in East London with
another located at Dumfries, Scotland. All these plants will be
in full production by this year, when annual production of SRF
will be in the order of 200,000 tonnes per year. Moreover, Shanks
was appointed as the preferred bidder for the 25 year contract
to manage the waste of Cumbria County Council in November 2006.
Additionally, the Company is bidding for other contracts and,
if successful, annual fuel production could substantially rise.
OF SRF PRODUCTION
One of the major hurdles to the development
of widespread energy from waste (EfW) schemes in the UK currently
stem from difficulties within the planning arena to realise projects
and the issues associated with perception over the combustion
We believe the proposal announced in the Planning
White Paper for a single consent regime for nationally significant
energy infrastructure should prove helpful in terms of the first
2. The Renewables Obligation and combustion
Currently, the only eligibility in relation
to ROCs for the use of SRF, relates to the power output that can
be attributed to the biomass content when the material is used
within advanced thermal techniques such as gasification or pyrolysis
and, since January 2006, in accredited CHP schemes.
Shanks has advocated the introduction of ROCs
for SRF where the same can be shown to meet specified criteria
as set out in the CEN/TS 343 standards, regardless of the type
of technology utilised for the combustion of the material.
We have a number of opportunities to combust
SRF alongside biomass streams in facilities which have the technical
capability and necessary consents in place, namely the Waste Incineration
Directive (WID). However, under the current arrangements, revenue
from ROCs from such a facility would be lost if a "pure"
biomass stream is co-combusted with a fuel derived from mixed
waste, including SRF. This has been a very significant barrier
preventing such avenues being explored and hence limiting the
use of such fuels within appropriately permitted facilities. We
therefore welcome the Government's proposals in the Energy White
Paper and Waste Strategy to make the Renewables Obligation "waste
neutral", so that ROCs for biomass are not lost when it is
co-fired with SRF.
We also welcome the proposal in the Waste Strategy
to base a definition of SRF on the CEN/TS 343 standard.
With the exception of recycling, waste management
concepts in the UK have focused on disposaleither by burning
or burial. Shanks believes the UK needs to develop the practice
of resource efficiency, both in materials use and in energy production
and conservation. We therefore welcome the policies emerging in
the Energy White Paper, Planning White Paper and Waste Strategy,
which indicate a clearer recognition of the valuable contribution
which SRF can make in terms of meeting UK energy needs in a cost-effective
and efficient way.
33 Quantification of the Energy Potential from
EfW, Oakdene Hollins, March 2005-Report commissioned by the RPA
and ICE. Back