The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) has recently published a briefing entitled “Gasification Failures in the UK: Bankrupticies and Abandonment”. This seven-page document draws upon published material to highlight how risky an investment these technologies have proved to be.
Gasification and pyrolysis, both forms of waste incineration euphemistically known as ‘Advanced Thermal Treatment’, constitute some of the riskiest and most unreliable technologies in the waste industry and are associated with scores of bankruptcies, failures and broken promises.
UKWIN’s latest briefing provides information about more than a dozen examples of gasification failures, including the high-profile situation where industrial gasses giant Air Products wrote off a billion dollars of squandered investment in their Tees Valley plasma-arc gasification plants because even after years of effort they could not get the technology to work.
Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of UKWIN, comments: “Promoters of gasification and pyrolysis schemes often cite existing and past projects to bolster support for their new proposals, but don’t like to mention that those other projects were actually embarrassing failures. Gasification and pyrolysis is an expensive misstep when it comes to waste management, because even if someone ever manages to get the ill-fated technology to work it would still have all of the problems of more conventional waste incineration. As with all forms of incineration, these technologies would result in shocking levels of CO2 being released and would rely upon destroying valuable material that should be recycled, composted or re-used”.
UKWIN is a network of around 100 campaign groups opposing waste incineration. This breadth of involvement with the waste industry provides the organisation with an overview of the gasification and pyrolysis sector as well as intimate and detailed knowledge of numerous incineration proposals and waste companies.