Viridor and CNIM announce handover of £252m Avonmouth energy recovery facility

A major milestone has been achieved in the construction of Viridor’s £252m Avonmouth Energy Recovery Facility, near Bristol, with contractors CNIM officially handing over the site to Viridor in December.

The plant, which is currently receiving non-recyclable waste from Somerset Waste Partnership (up to 120,000 tonnes) and the West of England Waste Partnership (120,000 tonnes) as part of the commissioning process, has been designed to divert 320,000 tonnes of this residual waste away from landfill. The ERF will also generate up to 307GWh of electricity annually which will power the facility itself and export enough energy to power the equivalent of 84,000 homes.

The construction site has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing the required government guidelines around social distancing for construction.

Viridor CEO Kevin Bradshaw said the company was pleased to have achieved this important milestone following other significant achievements at the site, including the first export of electricity to the grid in July.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The addition of another energy recovery facility to the Viridor fleet diverting non-recyclable waste from landfill across the UK is, of course, cause for the celebration on its own merits. However, the Avonmouth ERF forms part of the wider Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, including a £65m investment in a plastic reprocessing plant currently under construction which will draw heat and power from the ERF.

The handover is a great achievement and a milestone in our ongoing work with Viridor and other partners to decarbonise the county’s residual waste.

“The opportunity to have a Viridor facility, using non-recyclable waste to generate the heat and power, which will allow us to recycle and reprocess more plastic here in the UK is the wider goal for our Avonmouth centre.

“Optimising resource and energy efficiency and providing the infrastructure investment needed to make a meaningful contribution to the UK’s green economy continues to be the driving force of our business strategy. We will continue to seek opportunities to replicate the use of the ERFs as the combined heat and power plants that they were designed to be, supporting recycling and circular economy initiatives.”

“CNIM Environment & Energy Managing Director Guillaume Turc said: “The technologies implemented, and the expertise of our teams enable Viridor to meet its dual objective of energy and environmental performance, providing a state-of-the-art solution contributing to the circular economy. We are particularly proud to have delivered to Viridor a turnkey plant at the cutting edge of technology, despite the constraints put on us by the Covid epidemic.”

Somerset Waste Partnership Managing Director Mickey Green said: “This facility is another important piece in the Somerset waste management puzzle. While we remain focussed on reduction, reuse and recycling; having a means to ‘repurpose’ waste that cannot be recycled, rather than sending it to landfill, is a great leap forward.

“The handover is a great achievement and a milestone in our ongoing work with Viridor and other partners to decarbonise the county’s residual waste.”

 Viridor Avonmouth ERF construction programme by numbers:

  • More than three million hours worked on site

  • 35,245 m3  concrete

  • 4,140 tonnes steelwork

  • 62,250 mroof and wall cladding

  • 173 km power cables

  • 167 tonnes process pipework

  • 24,000 mthermal insultation

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