Advanced Plasma Power biogas-from-waste plant set to open next year

A new green gas generation facility under construction at Marston Gate in Swindon is to commercially produce bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) from household waste.

Developed by Saxlund International, a biomass and material handling company at Advanced Plasma Power, the £25-million facility is due to become operational at the start of 2018.

The project has received around £11 million of funding from the Department for Transport’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition, created to support the development of a domestic advanced biofuel industry, and £8.6 million from Cadent (formerly National Grid Gas Distribution).

Bio-SNG is produced through the gasification of cellulosic materials, such as energy crops or forestry residues, after which the Bio-SNG is then gas conditioned, synthesised and gas upgraded. Bio-SNG can be used like biogas produced through anaerobic digestion or it can be converted into liquid biofuels, diesel, ethanol and other fuels.

Upon completion, the plant will have the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of household waste every year, producing 22 gigawatt hours of BioSNG, enough to power 1,500 homes or fuel 75 heavy goods vehicles each year.

Household waste will be delivered to the facility once a day, entering the plant in a moving floor trailer, with up to 150 cubic metres being stored over the weekend to provide a buffer until the start of the following week’s operation.

Commenting on the announcement, Matt Drew, Managing Director for Saxlund International said: “Producing 80 per cent lower carbon emissions than fossil gas, BioSNG is recognised as being key to decarbonising heat and transport in the UK and internationally. We are delighted to be involved with this pioneering project at Marston Gate.

“Like all of the bioenergy and gasification plants we are currently involved with, fuel handling and storage are critical areas to get right to ensure plant efficiency and peak productivity.”

Following trials of the technology this summer, David Parkin, Cadent Director of Safety and Network Strategy, said: “This gas provides low carbon, sustainable and affordable energy that can be used with existing gas boilers and cookers or to fuel gas powered lorries and buses.

“It also reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill, and green gas fuelled vehicles cause much less pollution than diesel making them particularly suitable for inner cities.

“BioSNG has the potential to be rolled out across Britain and the world. It’s just one of a number of new game changing technologies Cadent is working to develop.”