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Councils ‘need certainty’ from EfW gasification

11 September 2012

§  Energy

By Steve Eminton

Developers of gasification facilities for waste need to prove themselves over the next few years, Defra’s senior energy from waste official said today.

The comment came from the department for environment’s policy lead, Dr James Cooper, who was speaking after a presentation by his Defra colleague, Richard Pullen, head of waste strategy and regulation at the RWM Conference in Birmingham this morning (September 11).

“The government’s energy from waste policy has been driven by the need to divert material from landfill to meet landfill diversion targets so we have tended to go for mass burn.”Dr Cooper explained that there was a “subtle key phrase” in last year’s waste review which indicated a change in view over energy from waste.

Now, he said the waste review had referred to the aim of getting more energy out of waste with the idea of using more “up the pipe” solutions.

Dr Cooper explained that the department recognised there would also be less waste available with minimisation policies and more recycling.


It would be important for local authorities, he said, to see gasification and other projects as reliable. “We have to get enough working on the ground to scale so that local authorities when procuring their contracts know the technology will work. Local authorities are concerned, they want that degree of reliability.”

And, he added that there would be local authorities which will be looking to procure infrastructure in the next few years. “Some of these started 20 years ago and when they come up for renewal they will be looking for the best infrastructure available at the time.”

Dr Cooper highlighted projects of note in terms of new technologies for energy from waste. The first is the GreenSky gasification project in Essex being developed with British Airways and the second is an Air Products facility on Teesside.

Earlier Richard Pullen of Defra had spoken of the need to ensure that future waste policy is capable of clear and fair implementation.

He also highlighted that the department wanted to promote the waste and resource sector’s contribution to economic growth.

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