A World First: reducing emissions, reusing existing infrastructure and removing waste

A world first: reducing emissions, reusing existing infrastructure and removing waste

(“SAE”, the “Company” and, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”)

Graham Reid, CEO at SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE):

Having spent much of my career developing large scale infrastructure and energy projects, I am acutely aware of the journey we need to take to reach net zero emissions, and how this debate has intensified over the years, and rightly so. I understand the desire that some people have to skip the journey and simply arrive at the destination but we must balance a number of factors and embrace the path set out before us by our governments. The UK Government set out in its December 2020 Energy White Paper that to meet the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, the world must collectively and rapidly reduce global emissions to net zero over the next 30 years. We must show tenacity and be relentless on our journey and not shy away from the conversation but reach out, explain, and engage so we can drive forward, together.

At SAE we have a project that will be the first in the world to repurpose an existing coal fired power station to solve three of the most pressing challenges – providing much needed additional grid capacity, moving away from primary fossil fuels and tackling  the unsolved problem of non-recyclable waste. The repurposing of existing facilities has been identified by the Government as a transition technology and will be eligible for government support until 2027, they will then be able to compete in the capacity market auctions.

Previously the solution to increasing demand had seen a rise in new power stations that were more efficient than coal but still burned fossil fuels, such as gas. Although this solution provides much needed electricity to back up renewables when not generating, it still depends on fossil fuels and the extraction, shipping and burning of that fuel. When it comes to disposing of the non-recyclable waste, the UK buries it, pays other countries to take it and burn it, or builds new and expensive power stations to incinerate it.

So, is there a better way?

The good news is that there is a better solution, and the even better news is that it is relatively simple. SAE, working alongside our Dutch partners N+P, have developed a fuel pellet that combines end of life and non-recyclable plastic waste with biomass waste to make fuel pellets. These pellets are created specifically for use in coal fired power stations which means: no new stations or grid connections as the supporting infrastructure is all there, and we simply have to adapt it to what we need.

Two birds, one stone

Our Uskmouth Power Station project will be the most efficient station in the world powered by waste. When I say waste, I am not talking black bin bags thrown into a furnace, I am talking about waste that has been sorted, highly processed in state of the art facilities and then pelletised for transportation. These pellets are then finely ground and blown into the furnace and produce similar combustion values as coal with approximately half the emissions. This new approach at Uskmouth will remove over one million tonnes of landfill. When you also factor in that its emissions are close to half compared to when it ran on coal, this project is a real game changer and one that we are proud to be pioneering.

This project presents a solution for not only the UK, but also has the potential to impact positively the generation of electricity on a global scale. Currently, new coal fired power stations are coming online around the world, while holes in the ground are dug deeper and deeper to bury more and more non-recyclable waste. We have worked alongside businesses from Europe and Asia and have spoken to coal plant operators around the world who see it as an economic imperative to have the option of using a sustainable fuel such as ours. I believe that we will only achieve our zero emissions objective  when we recognise that we are all on the same journey, and it is up to those of us leading in the sector to explain the challenges, opportunities and the benefits of the different paths we can take in order to accelerate the journey, we are all on, together, to achieve a world with net zero emissions.

Notes to Editors

SIMEC Atlantis Energy

Atlantis is a global developer, owner and operator of sustainable energy projects with a diverse portfolio in various stages of development. This includes a 77 per cent. stake in the world’s largest tidal stream power project, MeyGen, 100 per cent. of the 220MW Uskmouth Power Station conversion project and 100 per cent. of Green Highland Renewables, a leading developer of mini-hydro projects.


More on the MeyGen Project: https://saerenewables.com/projects/meygen/

More on the Uskmouth Project: https://saerenewables.com/project-development-operation/simec-uskmouth-power/

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