Report of FPA Visit to Viridor Energy Recovery Facility
FROM BAGS OF RUBBISH TO BOTTOM ASH
The new £205 million Viridor energy recovery facility at Ardley near Bicester in Oxfordshire opened its doors to the FPA for an exclusive tour of the facility. Some 23 members were welcomed to the plant which processes 300 000 tonnes of residual waste a year creating a 26mw renewable energy supply which is put back into the national grid. The site produces enough electrical power for 38,000 homes, equivalent to more than two-thirds of Oxford.
The stunning building, designed by architect David Butterworth, houses the entire recovery system which processes waste through combustion to produce heat to power steam driven turbines that create electricity. Virtually all by-products are reprocessed, for example on-site partner Raymond Brown processes ‘bottom ash’ into material used for road building – replacing virgin aggregate.
Members were given a presentation outlining the site history and facility development. Members also toured the visitor center which explains the role the Ardley ERP plays in the waste hierarchy and the leading-edge technology being deployed to convert waste into fuel. That technology includes negatively pressurising the inside of the building to prevent odours leaking into the surrounding area. The site operates to the highest of standards and is part of a £1.2bn programme of investment by Viridor in 11 ERP sites in the UK which between them produce enough power to fuel a city the size of Leeds.
The foyer ‘Megawattosaurus’, a life-size model dinosaur created entirely using waste materials recovered from the Household Waste Recycling Centre operated by Viridor in Ardley, was explained by the discovery of some the finest fossilised dinosaur trackways found in Europe, left by Megalosaurus and Cetiosaurs.
FPA Executive Director Martin Kersh said: “this is a superb example of Viridor’s desire to invest in the highest quality and most effective waste management facilities in the UK.”