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EMR granted permission for Bootle gasification plant
May 27th, 2010 

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European Metal Recycling (EMR) has secured planning permission to develop a second large-scale facility to use recycling and gasification technology to deal with post-shredder residues from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs).

While the company would not comment on the development at its existing Bootle site on Merseyside after it was given the go-ahead by Sefton council last week (February 10), planning documents reveal that it would divert around 130,000 tonnes of material from landfill, and is expected to play a significant role in boosting ELV recovery rates.

The proposed plant would process 120,000 tonnes-a-year of post-shredder residue, which is also known as automotive shredder residue (ASR), from existing operations at the Alexandra Docks site, as well as 17,500 tonnes-a-year of material from an EMR site in Birmingham, producing 30 megawatt hours of electricity.

And, it would also be able to recover a further 22,800 tonnes of recyclates, including copper, ferrous metals, glass, aluminium and aggregates, a year using plastics and magnetic separation, leaving just 5,700 tonnes of material to be sent to landfill.

Disposal

The significance of the project was highlighted in a scoping opinion produced by the council, which said: "The EMR plant currently sends some 184,000 tonnes of SLF to landfill annually. The construction and operation of the proposed gasification plant will remove the need for almost 90% of this disposal, and the associated traffic trips.

"This extra recycling stage will actively support EMR in meeting the requirements of the EU End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (The ELV Directive) where the ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of each ELV going to landfill to a maximum of 5%."

Difficulties in recovering the 25% or so of ELVs that is non-metallic are seen as being a major barrier to the UK boosting its ELV recycling and recovery rate upwards from the 84.23% achieved in 2007 (see letsrecycle.com story) towards the 95% the Directive expects by 2015.

To this end, the planning documents reveal the gasification technology at the proposed Bootle development would be used to recover energy from the plastic, foam, wood, glass, grit, stones and metals which comprise the ASR.

An environmental statement supporting the application, produced by consultants Forbury Environmental, explained that: "Several of the materials in the ASR, e.g. foam, wood and plastic, are combustible, and there is therefore the potential to derive energy from it through a subsequent processing stage."

The document explains that between 40% and 50% of the 526,000 tonnes of scrap metal dealt with at EMR's Bootle site every year is ELVs, and noted that the operation is already home to one of the world's largest shredders.

Gasification

The gasification and recycling development, at Alexandra Docks, is the second EMR project of its kind to emerge in recent months, after proposals for a similar facility at Oldbury in the West Midlands were revealed in November 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).

As with that planned development, the proposals have been made by Innovative Environmental Solutions, a joint venture established by EMR and US gasification specialists Chinook Sciences last year.

The environmental statement claims the gasification technology developed by Chinook is "advanced and proven and has been operating at a number of locations worldwide for several years"

The technology, which is known as 'RODECS', involves ASR being heated in an atmosphere without oxygen at "controlled temperatures" to turn the organic proportion of the material into a synthetic gas, or 'syngas'.

According to the document, the process would then mean: "The combined steam output generated by the multiple RODECS/Boiler systems would be utilised to drive a steam turbine, connected to an electrical generator, capable of generating 30 MW-hr; this is an extremely common mechanism for electricity generation.

"Power would be exported from the site to the national grid," it added.

Opposition

EMR's plans were backed, with conditions, by the council's planning officers in the report approved by the council's planning committee last week, but it also details opposition to the proposals - both from some councilors and local residents.

This includes three petitions organised by councilors, and concerns that the plans have not been consulted on sufficiently.

Among the dissenting voices, the report cited the comments of Councillor Carol Gustafson, who said she "wishes to oppose this application on the grounds of environmental impact such as dust, noise pollution and nuisance to the residents of my ward.

"I have had a number of residents objecting on the grounds of not being consulted and they did not see any notices in the surrounding areas," she added.

Source: Let's Recycle