Construction to start on ‘world’s first’ commercial bio-substitute natural gas plant

Added: 7th December 2016 by National Grid

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National Grid investment means Swindon plasma recycling plant will go ahead by early 2017.

National Grid’s Gas Distribution company has signed a £6.3 million deal to help fund the “world’s first” commercially operating bio-substitute natural gas plant in Swindon, which will make gas from household waste.

The deal completes financing for the project, which is being run by Go Green Gas and enables construction of the £25 million plant to start.

In the plant, waste and biomass is shredded and dried and “recyclates” such as metals or dense plastics are removed. The prepared feedstock is then heated to convert it to a synthesis gas, or ‘syngas’, which contains tar. This is also converted to syngas using a close coupled gasifier and plasma converter, a carbon-lean process that uses very high temperatures of around 1200°C in the presence of controlled amounts of steam, air and oxygen.

The syngas is then cooled and heavy metals, ash and other contaminants are removed. It is then passed through a series of catalysed reactions to convert it into methane and CO2. The CO2 is removed leaving a green ‘drop in’ gas that can be injected into the grid.

Once operational the plant will provide fuel for a fleet of 40 trucks belonging to Howard Tenens, a local logistics company. According to the haulier, this will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. 

Go Green Gas plans to supply gas for residential and business use during the first half of 2018. According to the firm, When fully operational it will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5000 tonnes per year.

National Grid said the technology has the potential to provide 100TWh of green gas a year – enough to fuel all of Britain’s heavy good vehicles or meet one third of its domestic heating demand.

Chris Train, chief executive of National Grid Gas Distribution, said: “Green gas fuelled vehicles cause much less pollution than diesel and are particularly suitable for inner cities and making gas from household waste also reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill.”

Additional backing for the plant is being provided by the Department for Transport’s Advanced Biofuel Competition, Network Innovation Competition (run by energy regulator Ofgem), Advanced Plasma Power, Wales & West Utilities and Progressive Energy.

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