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Derby and Enerkem

Investing in innovative technologies

For too long, the world has made, used and disposed of its products without gaining value from them. The circular economy seeks to keep resources in use for as long as possible through re-use, or to recover value through processes such as green electricity production.

At Renewi, we currently recycle and recover 90% of the waste we collect, but we want to do even better. Our desire to improve our performance in this area is critical to our commitment to the circular economy.

So how will we do this? As well as improving the efficiency of our current recycling and recovery technologies, we invest in new, innovative technologies to boost our already high recycling and recovery rates.

Gasification in action

Our new facility in Derby, in the UK, is just one example of this new investment. Currently under construction, the facility will use gasification technology to convert residual waste into synthetic gas, which can then be used to generate electricity.

This is waste that cannot be recycled. Gasification technology will enable us to turn the waste, which would otherwise go into landfill, into gas that can be used as energy. In the future, we may even be able to convert it into base chemicals. We will be breaking waste back down to molecules to produce a pure product that goes back into the production cycle.

When fully operational, the facility will produce enough green electricity to power itself and a further 14,000 homes. The facility will also produce recycled metals and plastics.

In Rotterdam, we are involved in a development project where we hope to access Enerkem’s new gasification technology currently under development in Canada. Enerkem’s process focuses on making synthetic gas to produce methanol. Both are used as a base chemical for the chemical industry.

Exciting development

This is an exciting development as methanol is one of the most used raw materials in the chemical industry and is normally created from fossil fuels. The chemical company Akzo Nobel, one of the partners in the project, is currently exploring whether a similar facility could be built in Rotterdam, working with Enerkem and its Dutch partners, including Renewi, which will be the sole provider of the residual waste for the planned site.

At Enerkem’s Edmonton site, residual waste is converted to methanol over a molecular recycling process that is based on gasification technologies. Being ISCC-certified is an indication that the technology meets the European sustainability criteria and can be used in Europe.

Using gasification is a first for Renewi and a symbol of our commitment to investing in new sustainable technologies.