UK firm announces ‘game-changing’ plans for world’s biggest EfW decarbonisation project

UK waste management firm Cory has announced plans to develop the world’s largest single-site energy from waste (EfW) decarbonisation project following a government commitment this week to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) for the waste sector.

The project will involve the installation of CCS technology to capture 90% of the emissions from Cory’s existing EfW facility in Bexley, south London, and at its new, adjacent EfW facility which is expected to be operational by 2026. By 2030, this could deliver 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 savings a year, the firm says.

Corry said it had made the decision following a commitment this week from the government to make waste management CCS projects eligible for support through the Industrial Carbon Capture (ICC) business model.

Under this arrangement, the government will provide the emitter with a payment per tonne of captured CO₂, which is intended to cover operational expenses, transport and storage fees and repayment of, and a rate of return on, capital investment in carbon capture equipment.

It also incorporates capital grant co-funding for a portion of the capital cost of capture projects, which will be available for initial projects only and “is intended to mitigate against certain risks associated with these projects”, BEIS said.

Cory said it had notified the Planning Inspectorate of its intention to submit a development consent order application seeking permission for a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP).

The project will see liquefied CO2 shipped down the river Thames to an offshore subsea storage site. 

Cory said the river reduces the need for complex infrastructure to transport CO2 and provides flexibility and confidence as the firm  will be able to access operational subsea storage locations.

Dougie Sutherland, chief executive of Cory, said: “Cory’s carbon capture project has the potential to be game-changing – not only would it be one of the largest CCS projects in the UK, but it would also lead the way for river-based solutions, using the existing, natural infrastructure of the Thames to transport CO2. It could also help other businesses along the river Thames to unlock their contribution to the UK’s net zero target by establishing a transportation hub using river shipment options.

“Carbon capture technologies will be vital in the fight against the climate crisis, and we welcome the Government’s recent announcement that it will provide financial backing for EfW CCS projects. Subject to the right regulatory framework and support being in place, Cory stands ready to invest and help the UK to enhance its position as a world leader in green technology.” 

In its Sixth Carbon Budget report, independent government climate change advisors, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), recommended that any new EfW facilities within the waste management sector should be built with carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) or be CCUS-ready and that retrofits of existing EfW facilities should be required to install the technology.