Waste treatment facilities are classified in a couple of ways, including:
• MATERIAL RECOVERY (waste facilities that recycle, sort, or compost materials such as paper, cardboard, food, wood, plastic)
• OTHER RECOVERY / ENERGY RECOVERY (incinerators that have demonstrated their ability to achieve levels of efficiency to qualify as recovery operations)
• DISPOSAL (incinerators, including gasification plants, that fail to meet the efficiency threshold, and landfill sites)
Incinerators, including gasification plants, can therefore be classified as either Recovery (R1) or Disposal (D10), depending on their efficiency.
Recovery – There are far better ways of treating waste than gasification, due to the high level of energy required to operate gasification facilities and the relative inefficiency of such plants.
Disposal – Burning waste is far worse for the environment and for climate change than other forms of disposal, such as landfill. As this type of waste includes plastics it burns at a far higher temperature BUT the by-product from this contains tar and corrosive gases. The tar sticks to the ceramic tile lining of the chimney stack and mixed with the gas starts to erode the lining making holes (this can happen in hours) – the air from outside then mixes with the gas and has a combustion effect – in other words the plant can blow up. Only this month a member of staff died at a gasification incinerator at Oldbury due to an explosion. This is under investigation by the police.
The “dirty gas” that is produced from these types of plants is very expensive to clean, making it not a very viable option as an alternative to use as petrol in cars. The government were offering subsidies to companies who can provide an alternative to petrol, however it is a very expensive process to clean the dirty gas rendering the whole process a bit of a white elephant. The cleaning process itself can take up more energy than can be produced by burning the gas.
There are no gasification plants in existence that are the size that Rolton Kilbride are proposing to build– 215,000 tonnes per annum of mixed waste feedstock. WHY???
According to physics it won’t work – demos built on a smaller scale 10,000 – 30,000 tonnes of mixed waste feedstock (the same that RK are claiming to use) have proved to be “unpredictable” and have come with a lot of “technical problems”. There is no reason to think that the problems found with smaller scale plants will not be even worse when scaled up.
Government were looking to provide 2% of the Nation’s power by means of gasification from the plant built by Air Products at Teesside. Air Products built one site which was found to have many technical issues, and they started building a second plant, however Air Products needed to use parts from the second plant as spares in the first plant. When those parts failed the plant closed and Air Products wrote off their$1 billion investment as a complete waste of money. – Why? Because it doesn’t work!
Smaller plants that were in operation proved to be inefficient – for example, the Isle of Wight gasification plant was only 5% efficient and the gasification plant at Dargavel, which burnt itself down, was not even 3% efficient. This means that roughly 95% of the energy content (calorific value) of the feedstock was lost through gasification.
RK have already admitted that they would burn plastics, therefore this would categorise this plant as fossil fueled energy plant and not the “Renewable Energy” site RK claims it would be – also making it more hazardous to the environment.
We need to ensure that if RK do get the go-ahead to build the plant part of the conditions require RK to put up a bond (money set aside) to ensure that even if RK goes bankrupt money will be available to pay for the dismantling and removal of the plant when the project fails.
A plant of this proposed size would produce approximately 8 million tonnes of CO2 during the lifetime of the plant. This goes against what Sunderland Council are trying to achieve with their Core Strategy.
The air quality will be adversely affected due to the emissions.
Traffic and traffic pollution would be increased due to the additional HGV’s bringing waste into the area – 1 every 6 minutes.
Congestion on the local roads would be greatly increased, especially with the forecast growth from other local business (Nissan, Vantec, etc.).
A 20 tonne lorry would remove toxic alkaline ash weekly from the site (let’s hope there isn’t a road traffic accident involving that lorry).
Waste would have to be brought in from outside of Sunderland to feed this plant.
RK have claimed the funding will come from Legal & General – you can contact them to ask that they disinvest in this project.
RK have claimed that the power provided is solely for the use of Nissan – this type of energy goes directly against Nissan’s own Environmental Policy.Rubbish would litter the roads, in turn attracting pests and vermin and odours.
100m from the site is a residential area containing schools.
100m from the site is a nature reserve.
100m from the site is a retail park.
The proposed land received a grant from the EU to be used for Manufacturing – Incineration is not manufacturing.