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SIMEC Atlantis Energy hails successful pellet tests for Uskmouth project

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Further successful testing of waste-derived fuel pellets represents a "major milestone" for the Uskmouth Power Station Conversion Project in Newport, Wales.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy (Atlantis), a global developer, owner and operator of sustainable energy projects and the firm behind the power station conversion, confirmed the successful trials of its waste-derived fuel pellets on 23 June.

In October 2019, the company announced it had awarded Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Europe the contract to carry out the design and development of the combustion system for the flagship Uskmouth conversion project. The contract included the largest ever combustion testing of the fuel pellets at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Research and Innovation Centre in Nagasaki, Japan.

The bespoke fuel pellets were designed and produced by project partner and alternative fuel specialist N+P Group. They are formed of around 50% biogenic waste material, such as paper and cardboard, and plastic waste. Atlantis said the waste used to make the pellets is not currently economically recyclable and therefore, if not used in the production of fuel pellets, would be sent to landfill or diverted from landfill to purpose-build incineration facilities.

Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis Energy, said: “The successful completion of the fuel combustion testing is a major milestone for this flagship conversion project and represents a very important step in the programme towards achieving financial close.

“This project is the world’s first example of a coal-fired power station being repurposed to run on 100% waste-derived fuel pellets and the results of this test will potentially have material implications for the way plastic waste, and ageing coal-fired power stations, are managed globally in the future.”

According to Atlantis, the test “conclusively proves” that a pulverised fuel burner based on MHPS’ DS Ultra Low NOx burner can be used to stably combust the waste-derived fuel unsupported (without using oil or gas support firing). The burner operated continuously at 25 MW thermal power using the fuel and is comparable in rating to the burners required for the Uskmouth conversion project, the company said.

“We were delighted to work with Atlantis on the combustion testing for the flagship Uskmouth project and we always believed that the successful completion of this large-scale testing will open up a huge new market globally for MHPS and Atlantis for future similar conversions,” said Falk Hoffmeister, vice-president head of service of MHPS Europe.

“The testing couldn’t have gone better and we are delighted that the results pave the way for this successful project and huge global future opportunities.”