Glasgow’s unique energy-from-waste plant has become fully operational.
The £155m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is now diverting 200,000 tonnes of the city’s waste from landfill and generating enough electricity to power 22,000 homes.
Delivered through a 25-year partnership between Glasgow City Council and recycling and low-carbon energy company, Viridor, the GRREC has the ability to extract recyclable material from general waste and boost Glasgow’s overall recycling rates, diverting 90% of council-collected waste from landfill and saving 90,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
With national restrictions on sending biodegradable waste to landfill due to come into effect on January 1, 2021, the GRREC is pivotal to Glasgow’s efforts to meet the forthcoming landfill ban.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, is convinced the GRREC will turn around Glasgow’s environmental performance following years of disposing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste at landfill.
Councillor Richardson said: “The GRREC is a unique piece of technology that will transform how we think about and deal with waste in Glasgow. With the GRREC becoming fully operational we can take a giant stride towards our objective of Glasgow becoming the most sustainable city in Europe.
“This new plant is an environmental success story in a number of compelling ways. The GRREC will help to ensure the days of simply dumping our waste in the ground will quickly come to an end. This provides a massive carbon reduction bonus for the city as we play our part in tackling climate change. Generating enough clean energy to power 22,000 homes also shows that sustainable solutions are within reach if we look for them.
“Our commitment to the GRREC reflects a bold but necessary move away from landfill as the primary method of waste disposal in Glasgow. Our partners Viridor deserve great praise for delivering this highly impressive facility.”
Viridor Managing Director Phil Piddington said: “The GRREC epitomises Viridor’s vision of attaching a purpose to all waste – separating valuable recyclable material, food and organic waste and giving residual waste, which cannot be recycled, a crucial role in generating low carbon electricity. In this way, we contribute to Glasgow and Scotland’s goals in terms of both resource and energy efficiency.”
The GRREC comprises three main technologies and is unique in bringing all of these under one roof:
- a smart recycling facility that extracts recyclable material from general waste to create a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which can be further processed to release energy.
- An anaerobic digestion facility which uses bacteria to break down organic waste and release methane which is used as a fuel to generate renewable electricity.
- Finally, an Advanced Conversion Facility (ACF) heats the RDF in very low oxygen concentrations to synthesise a gas which is then captured and fully combusted within a secondary chamber. The high pressure steam generated by this process in turn drives a turbine to produce renewable electricity which is then exported to the national grid.
Further information on the GRREC can be found in the committee paper due to be presented at the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee on March 19.