Waste tyre power plant gets the nod

Construction of a £32m power plant that will dispose of used tyres is due to start at the beginning of next year.

Energy Power Resources hopes to close financing for the 15.5MW project before the end of December.

It will be the first application of a technology which does not simply burn the tyres to raise heat but uses a large oven – called a pyro-combustor – to melt off the volatile elements in the rubber.

This hot gas mix then raises steam to drive a turbine, before going through a semi-wet gas-cleaning system to be discharged into the atmosphere.

‘What you’re actually burningis quite a clean gas,’ said Darren Williams, EPR’s project manager.

He said the residual steel and carbon left in the oven could be separated and sold. Once fully operational, the plant will consume 63,000 tonnes of used tyres a year.

The technology is designed to meet the latest regulations on environmental discharges from waste incineration – which call for emissions of less than 150 nanogrammes per cubic metre for nitrogen oxide and under 50 nanogrammes forsulphur dioxide – and could resolve the looming national problem with used tyres.

The UK produces about 450,000 tonnes of tyres a year and their disposal to landfill sites will be restricted from 2003 and banned from 2006.