The UK continues to develop treatment infrastructure as an alternative to landfill.
A key alternative to landfill is the production of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for energy generation via combustion. With a lack of available Energy from waste (EfW) treatment capacity in the UK, RDF producers have taken advantage of spare capacity in the wider European market caused by a reduction in waste arising’s during the recession.
Europe continues to be an open and price competitive market for UK RDF and will continue to remain an important factor in the setting of UK gate fees for the treatment of waste. The export market has grown from 0.8 million tonnes in 2012 to 1.6 million tonnes in 2013 and increasing further to circa 2 million tonnes in 2014, with expectation being that this level will be maintained until additional treatment infrastructure treatment comes on stream in the UK offering competitive gate fees.
However, 2016 is likely to see a reduction in RDF exports from the UK as investment starts to get delivered, whilst increased capacity in Northern Europe and very little growth in waste generation across Europe as a whole will inevitably put a downward pressure on price.’
As the export market has grown a number of concerns have been raised relating to RDF production including the quality of the RDF – such as the failure to extract recyclables, poor management and storage leading to environmental issues such as odour and leaching, and lack of enforcement against those not following the requirements leading to abandoned storage sites.
Suggestions have been made for industry treatment standards for RDF. Standards may include:
- requirements for shredding such as the permitted particle size,
- removal of recyclates such as metals and biodegradable content and other valuable materials and parameters around calorific value and moisture content.
These types of change move the sector into the realms of the manufacture of a potential commodity where price becomes important.
Whilst we are part of a competitive market, RDF will continue to go where the best price can be achieved. It is therefore incumbent on developers and operators in the UK to develop and deliver affordable treatment solutions.
Addressing the concerns and lack of capacity as outlined above presents an opportunity for the development, delivery and operation of new infrastructure and partnerships for the production, management, storage, transportation and ultimate treatment of RDF here in the UK and wider afield.
If you have a product/service enquiry or if you are looking to invest in a new piece of waste machinery, please contact us and a member of the M&K team will contact ASAP.
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55, Cappagh Road,
Galbally, Dungannon, Co Tyrone