New Gasification plant in Dagenham

Today I joined Boris Johnson and Isabel Dedring, the Mayor’s Environment Advisor to see work begin on the site of London’s first advanced gasification plant, which will take rubbish and turn into renewable energy.

When the Dagenham plant is built and operational in 2013, it will turn almost 100,000 tonnes of waste into 19 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to power nearly 20,000 homes, which is pretty impressive.

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) agreed a £8.9million loan to Biossence East London Limited in order to secure the site and prepare it for construction. The site was acquired from Ford Motor Company, which will benefit from the energy generated from the facility, most of which will be exported to the National Grid.

The plant uses ‘Advanced Thermal Conversion’ gasification technology to process ‘black bag’ waste left after recycling taken from the four local boroughs within the East London Waste Authority (Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge & Ilford).

This waste is first treated at Shanks Waste Management’s nearby plant, where the rubbish is stripped of material that could be recycled such as glass and metals. The rest of the material, which would otherwise go to landfill, is then turned into a ‘Refuse Derived Fuel’ (RDF).

The Shanks facility is less than half a mile away from where the gasification plant is being built. This reduces the need for transportation, which cuts down on carbon emissions. Biossence will then take the fuel where it is cleaned and burned to create power. This is a great example of localised ‘closed loop’ waste management, resulting in over 90% diversion from landfill.

The new facility will also create 25 permanent skilled jobs as well as up to 100 construction-related jobs during the two-year building period.

I’ve been impressed from what I’ve seen so far and look forward to returning when the facility is up and running in the next couple of years.

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