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SIMEC advances Welsh coal-to-waste power conversion project at Uskmouth

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SIMEC advances Welsh coal-to-waste power conversion project at Uskmouth

Highlights

Project to use recycled waste pellets

Has 20-year PPA with Liberty Steel

Prototype for further projects abroad

London — SIMEC Atlantis Energy aims to produce first power from its 220 MW coal-to-waste energy pellet power plant conversion at Uskmouth, south Wales in Q4 2020, the independent generator said Monday.

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AIM-listed SIMEC Atlantis has a range of ambitious projects, including conversion of Uskmouth using a novel form of waste-to-energy pellet that it wants to market to other coal plant owners around the world.

The conversion project is aimed at replacing dispatchable plant in south Wales as coal-fired generation is phased out by 2025 under government policy.

Conversion is expected to take 18 months following front end engineering and design, resulting in a plant with an operational life of 20 years, SIMEC said.

The converted plant already has a 20-year power purchase agreement with GFG Alliance's Liberty Steel, which has a steel plant in Newport close to the Uskmouth site.

GFG Alliance, the $13 billion-turnover industrial group led by Sanjeev Gupta, has a major stake in SIMEC Atlantis.

Uskmouth is to use N+P Subcoal pellets made from biogenic waste and non-recyclable plastic, SIMEC Atlantis said. Dutch recycling firm N+P is working with SIMEC to design a pellet production plant at the site.

"Promising results" from milling trials of the pellets (with an average calorific value of 20 megajoules per kg vs around 29 MJ/kg for hard coal) are to inform the final design of the plant's retrofitted combustion system.

Meanwhile SIMEC Atlantis is already in discussions with plant owners in Europe, Australia, Asia and the US on future conversions "to extend the economic life of power generation facilities, maintaining employment, keeping baseload on the grid and addressing the issue of non-recyclable plastics whilst reducing landfill," it said.

The company has taken on Ernie Rowe, previously conversion manager at coal-to-biomass generator Drax. "With governments and utilities around the world being forced to close down coal-fired power stations, this conversion will offer a new alternative to decommissioning,"Rowe said.

A FEED contract tender has been issued with a final contract decision expected "in the coming weeks."

In June SIMEC Atlantis said it had raised GBP20 million ($25.50 million) of working capital for the GBP185 million conversion.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans, henry.edwardes-evans@spglobal.com

--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, newsdesk@spglobal.com