The next stage of turning wheelie bin waste from across the town into a high quality source of fuel is almost ready following the installation and commissioning of a giant heated tumble drier by Swindon Commercial Services.
The January Link exclusively featured the opening of the town’s new £6 million waste processing plant where the contents of 20 bin lorries a day are emptied into one end of a large warehouse next to the household waste recycling centre at Waterside Park. It emerges at the other end as refuse derived fuel (RDF) for incineration at power stations outside the town.
In between the waste travels along conveyor belts and through circular tromels, shakers, sieves, electro-magnetic fields and shredders to extract different kinds of metals, grit and material too large or hard to be broken down.
James Owen and waste solutions operations manager Christobel Banks in front of the SRF plant at Waterside Park. Photo: Richard Wintle of calyxpix.com
Everything that’s left at the end of the process has been turned into flakes which is baled and transported to power stations for burning.
At present it is taken to Holland or Germany as there is nowhere in Britain which can deal with this fuel source, but the transportation cost is lower than paying the landfill tax.
From May the plant will produce a higher quality of fuel called solid recovered fuel (SRF) where the waste has been dried to a specified level.
James Owen, SCS commercial director said: “The new installation will take the waste material from the end of the refuse sorting process and send it along more conveyor belts and through a giant heated tumble drier and filters to extract moisture. What emerges is lighter, drier material with a much higher calorific value which we will sell for a higher price.
“The market for fuel from waste is just emerging and Swindon is at the forefront of local authorities coming up with alternative solutions to continued dumping of waste into landfill which is both limited in available space, and heavily taxed.
“Power stations are being converted in this country to take this fuel source and new ones will be built in due course. We will be in a position to supply both RDF and SRF depending on what the customers wants.”
Since the Waterside plant went into full operational mode in February just under 100 per cent of the town’s waste is being recycled. An economic way to break down and recycle mattresses, large bits of wood, solid organic materials like turnips and shoe soles has yet to be found.
The waste to fuel plant has been funded by a £6 million investment by Swindon Council to be repaid over eight years.