Technological innovations

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Technological innovations

Alongside our ERFs, MRFs, landfill sites and HWRCs Viridor also operates a number of specialist energy facilities, and supports innovative trials and energy projects that may help stem the predicted capacity shortages in the energy sector.

As technologies progress we are always exploring opportunities to maximise energy output at our current sites. For instance, our Peterborough energy recovery facility provides a heat connection to a council depot, demonstrating an innovative means of improving the efficiency with which we use our resources.

Energy storage

One of the biggest difficulties surrounding renewable energy generation is the inability to control the timing in the production of electricity.

As part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (then DECC) innovation competition to support research and development in energy storage technology, we were  awarded over £8 million to spur on innovation in storing energy.

In an innovative showcase project, we are working in partnership with Highview Power Storage, a UK designer and developer of Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) systems, to build and operate a 5MW/15MWh energy storage demonstration project at our landfill site at Pilsworth, Bury.

We are using the funding to develop a technology to store air in a liquid format, which can then be used to supply electricity at times of high demand.  The technology will be connected to the National Grid and will be used to test the balancing of supply and demand using stored energy.

At present, almost all electricity is generated when it is needed and networks are designed to accommodate highest demands, even if they are of very short duration. Energy storage systems offer the opportunity to store surplus electricity for use at times of high demand. The technology could play an important role in supporting affordable growth in low carbon, renewable energy sources and in maintaining security of electricity supply in the UK.

Westbury Landfill Solar Array

We continue to look at ways to generate maximum amounts of renewable energy from the sites and facilities that we operate.

Our energy producing facilities are already set up with grid connections so it makes sense to do all that we can to squeeze as much energy out as possible. That is why we’ve installed solar panels on some of our energy recovery facilities and the solar farm at Westbury.

We have installed the first UK Solar array built on a closed landfill at the Westbury landfill, using an innovative mounting system to support the array in a way that is neither ground penetrating nor provides adversarial stress on the landfill cap.

We will continue to investigate opportunities to utilise solar energy and other energy generating technologies where it can bring economic and environmental benefit. 

Anaerobic digestion

UK households discard a staggering seven million tonnes of food waste every year and the UK food industry throws away £5 billion more. We need to buy and consume more sensibly, but alongside this we are converting unwanted food into high-quality products like compost, as well as generating electricity using Anaerobic Digestion (AD) technology.

Giving waste food and organics new life

This facility takes advantage of a renewable energy technology to captures the methane expelled by rotting organic materials within enclosed tanks. The gas is used as a source of energy for heat and power, which is fed directly into the National Grid. The remaining raw material is dried to make a range of soil conditioner and compost products, which can be used in agriculture and is available to purchase at selected facilities.

Robot Quality Control Systems

Viridor has invested £445,000 in upgrades to its Skelmersdale plastics reprocessing facility, West Lancashire, which includes the addition of a Max-AI AQC robotic sorter.

Liquid Air Energy Storage

DECC/BEIS Funded Cryogenic Energy Storage Project, following an award of over £8 million to spur on innovation in storing energy, this project, in partnership with Highview Power Storage, is to build and operate a 5MW/15MWh energy storage demonstration project at Pilsworth Landfill Bury.

Industrial Grade Fertiliser from Bio-wastes

BEIS/ Innovate UK Funded Fertiliser Production from Biowastes.  Following an award of £600k plus £600k of additional funding this project aims to build and operate a plant converting bio-wastes into replacement for agricultural and horticultural fertilisers at Walpole AD and composting facility through carbon sequestering CO2 from the onsite Bio-gas engine exhaust.

Industrial Grade Fertiliser from Bio-wastes

Heat Battery Storage

Working with CCm on a BEIS/Innovate UK funded project to develop a method of chemically storing Heat energy and release it on demand using the reversible Ammine : Carbonate reactions within a self-contained unit appropriate for optimising Heat Networks.