An energy-from-waste plant (EfW) operating 24 hours a day could be built in a former quarry at Greenham, near Wellington, if county council officers approve it.
The plan is to build a 65 feet by 33 feet by 26 feet high treatment centre behind an existing builders’ waste recycling facility owned by Wasteology Ltd.
The EfW would burn 3,500 tonnes a year of low level clinical waste such as used personal protection equipment (PPE) to generate renewable electricity and heat.
The electricity could be sold to the National Grid and it would be possible to supply the heat to nearby homes and other properties, as well as meeting all of the site’s heating needs.
The building would also require a 50 feet high chimney flue to allow exhaust fumes to escape above the sides of the quarry site.
Simon Greaves, of Castellum Consulting, which has been advising Wasteology, said the whole operation would take place within the new building, including loading and unloading of vehicles.
Mr Greaves said the proposed facility would not increase noise levels and the building would be completely screened from view outside the quarry.
It was expected no more than two lorries a day and some smaller trucks and vans would deliver the PPE waste in sealed specialist containers, with a small amount of residual waste from the EfW process removed fortnightly in sealed units.
The used PPE materials would be sourced from either side of the M5 motorway corridor, including Exeter, Taunton, Tiverton, Exmouth, Bridgwater and other towns.
Mr Greaves said although the site would operate around the clock to enable a constant supply of power into the electricity distribution network, the delivery and export of materials would only be from 7am to 6pm during the week and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Staff for the new plant would come from Wasteology employees already on site, with specialist engineering and maintenance support hired in as required.
Mr Greaves added: “The proposed activity is one which is required to take place by law in that it is mandatory to treat certain wastes in a high temperature environment.
“To that end there is an inherent requirement to provide a high temperature system requiring energy input.
“This notwithstanding, it is the intention of the operator to recover as much energy as practicable in the form of generating electricity and recovering heat to allow the plant to be self-sufficient in heat terms, and to export power to the National Grid.”
District council planners have said they do not object to the project provided there was no harm to trees which surround the quarry site.
What a sound and sensible idea, and one that I first suggested over in the Isle of Man around 20 years ago! There is little value and no need to restrict this to low level clinical waste but to process ALL clinical wastes including sharps and so-called infectious wastes together with pharma wastes by the same process.