Uskmouth plant to be converted to burn plastic waste pellets for 20 years

Simec Atlantis Energy is to fuel its 220MW plant in Uskmouth, Wales, with pellets made from a combination of biogenic waste and non-recyclable plastic. The pellets are supplied by Dutch manufacturer N+P Group and have   an average calorific value of 20MJ/kg.

The plant – currently coal-fired – will be converted over 18 months once front end engineering and design has been completed. That should see it begin to generate in Q4 2020. The  converted station will have an operational life of 20 years, Simec said.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive of SAE, said: “The Uskmouth conversion project has a 20 year power purchase agreement and a 20 year fuel supply agreement in place and will have a lower levelized cost of generation which will allow us to deliver high margins on power sales. This should be a very profitable project for the SAE Group once it is operational in 2020.”

Successful milling trials have been conducted on the pellets in Germany. Since SAE completed the acquisition of Uskmouth in June this year, it has:

  • taken on Ernie Rowe, previously conversion manager at Drax, as head of conversion at Uskmouth
  • issued a FEED contract tender. A final contract decision is expected in the coming weeks
  • undertaken combustion testing and computational fluid dynamic modelling with RJM Consultants to determine fuel combustion characteristics
  • begun planning and  environmental permit work for the conversion
  • begun planning upgrades to local road access and rail line spurs

The company believes that the conversion can act as a prototype for a pipeline of future conversions globally. It said it was already in discussions with plant owners and operators in Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA.