URBASER ENVIROMENTAL LTD
SITE VISIT 15th AUGUST 2023
The MHEA were delighted to facilitate their Summer Site Visit for 2023 at Urbaser Environmental Ltd to its member companies.
The Gloucestershire Energy from Waste Facility is designed to significantly reduce the amount of household residual waste landfilled in Gloucestershire by using the tried and tested technology of thermal treatment using combustion. This process is also monitored and regulated by the Environment Agency.
The visit began the evening before with an informal and productive networking dinner which was attended by 15 MHEA member companies. As an association the MHEA actively encourages these networking events and everyone attending all agreed that the evening was a great success.
The following day, 24 MHEA member company representatives arrived at the waste facility on Javelin Park and the visit began with Melanie de la Torre Zamora the Community Liaison Officer for Urbaser UK welcoming us all with tea and coffee and a short, informative video presentation explaining how the plant had been built and operated.
Melanie, explained how aside from safely dealing with household residual waste which cannot readily be recycled or composted, the facility generates the equivalent electricity to power 25,000 homes, and contributes to Gloucestershire’s overall renewable energy production. The facility diverts over 90% of the county’s household residual waste from landfill, producing 14.5 MW of electricity, recovering aggregates and metals for recycling and has the potential for heat offtake.
Following on from this, the members donned PPE equipment provided by Urbaser and began the tour of the facility in two groups of 12.
In all, the tour took around an hour and everyone enjoyed the experience immensely. It was a wonderfully enlightening visit where our members learned about how the waste is processed, the heat and power by-products and the positive impacts this is having on the environment.
Once the tour had been completed our members enjoyed a welcomed buffet lunch after which James Bullock, the MHEA President gave a short speech thanking all the member company representatives for attending and Urbaser for hosting the event.
The Gloucestershire Energy from Waste Facility uses state of the art technology to safely and efficiently combust up to 190,000 tonnes per year of residual waste – that is the waste left over after recycling and composting. The facility recovers the energy within the waste by combusting the leftover materials to create steam in the boiler, which is converted into electricity in the turbine. The facility manages the gaseous products of combustion through a sophisticated cleansing and filtration system to ensure that flue gas emissions are well within regulatory limits. From this process, there are two solid waste products: Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA), which is processed to recover metals that have passed through the system and is then graded for recycling, and lime-based residues from the flue gas treatment system, which are taken off site for treatment and disposal.
After reduce, reuse, and recycle, recovery is considered the most sustainable option. Recovery of energy from waste has many benefits:
- It diverts the maximum amount of waste from landfill and the consequent generation and emission of landfill gas which is over 21 times more effective at trapping heat within the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
- It safely manages waste that cannot be readily recycled
- It generates energy in the form of electricity and heat
- It provides an indigenous energy supply – adding to the UK’s energy security
- It generates renewable energy, contributing to the UK’s renewable energy targets. Around 50% of the energy generated may be classed as renewable due to the amount of biogenic (plant-based) feedstock.
- It recovers useful materials that would otherwise be lost in landfill.