Gasification waste to energy plant license revoked in Scotland after fire

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Gasification waste to energy plant license revoked in Scotland after fire

A waste to energy gasification plant that suffered from a devastating fire last month has been issued a notice from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to revoke its license.

SEPA issued the notice to Scotgen (Dumfries) and said that the plant’s “predicted level of energy recovery at approximately 3% is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory”.

The £20 million facility began operations more than four years ago but at the end of July suffered from a major fire, with an estimated 70 firefighters attending the scene.

At the time the Scotland Fire & Rescue Service reportedly said the plant had been “gutted” and “severely damaged”.

SEPA said the revocation of the license was due to:

  • Persistent non-compliance with the requirements of the permit
  • Failure to comply with an enforcement notice
  • Failure to maintain financial provision and resources to comply with the requirements of the permit
  • Failure to recover energy with a high level of efficiency.

The Scotgen facility is only one of a few waste to energy facilities in operation in Scotland.

Under the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste plans, there is a 25% cap on waste to energy as part of ambitious plans to boost recycling in the country to 70% by 2025.

Listing WtE sites, SEPA said the 2011 compliance rating of the Scotgen (Dumfries) plant was “very poor”.

Opened in August 2009, the facility was the first in Scotland to use batch gasification technology to process 60,000 tonnes of hazardous and non-hazardous waste per year and produce 6.2 MW of energy.

At the time of opening, Scotgen had secured a ten year deal with waste management company Shanks Group to provide 15,000 tonnes of solid recovered fuel for the plant.

David Heaton, director of operation at Scotgen told Waste Management World that “Scotgen is currently exploring options with its advisors”.

Ian Conroy, SEPA's technical support manager in the South West, said that since its operation, the plant “has never achieved a level of compliance which would give SEPA any degree of confidence that future operation would be any different.

“The facility has consistently failed to meet any reasonable expectation of environmental performance and the predicted level of energy recovery at approximately 3% is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory.”

Conroy added: "Since the plant come into operation we have provided support and assistance to Scotgen (Dumfries) Limited including affording them considerable time and opportunity  to demonstrate that this facility can meet the Best Available Techniques, and the specific requirements of European Directives designed to protect the environment. Unfortunately despite this, they have not done so.”

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