New plant will create energy

Barry Richardson Sales Director of Group Rhodes Wakefield
Barry Richardson Sales Director of Group Rhodes Wakefield
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AN INNOVATIVE system that will create energy while recycling waste and is the first of its kind in the industry is to be located in the new £750m plant in South Kirkby.

Groups Rhodes, in conjunction with Shanks - have designed a piece of machinery that can take a bag of mixed waste, recycle it efficiently and then burn the remains to create energy to run the plant, which will be on the former colliery site.

And in addition to being self sufficient, any extra energy created will be sold back to the National Grid.

Barry Richardson, sales director at the company based at Belle Vue, Wakefield, said he was really excited about this new way of dealing with waste.

He said: “There are so many advantages to this method. It is an absolutely fantastic thing. As long we keep throwing things away, we can keep creating energy. Energy from waste is great. I am very proud to be part of this venture.”

The £3m piece of equipment - which measures 15m by 3m - is so advanced, it can separate waste into its recyclable sections – without the need for householders having to do it.

The company took a machine known as an autoclave, and adapted it to process waste.

Mr Richardson described the autoclave as a large pressure cooker that can treat up to 20 tonnes of waste.

It steam cleans at 140 degrees centigrade, for an hour, and then waste is mechanically sorted into ready to be recycled. The leftovers, biodegradable waste such as food products and paper are then placed into another part of the machine, known as an anaerobic digester.

This is then treated so it decomposes, and the methane gas which is released from the waste is captured, stored and turned into electricity.

He said: “The energy from the waste will actually run the plant, and we will actually make money from selling the excess to the National Grid. It is logical really, but is fantastic.

“This could have us all going back to throwing everything in one bin again. It is more cost effective in many ways as it means there is no need for separate bin collections made by the council, and it also stops the possibility of people putting things in the wrong bin, as this takes more time to rectify.”

The company specialises in making machines to create car parts for elite manufacturers such as Rolls Royce, Ferarri, Jaguar and Honda, and also makes machines to create parts for military and commercial aircrafts.

It started the project two years ago after Shanks – who signed a contract with Wakefield Council to dispose of all the waste in the district – asked them to design a machine to help recycle and reduce landfill.

Mr Richardson said: “Waste and the effect it has on the environment is a huge problem and I believe this can be exported around the world.”

Work is set to start on the site early 2012.