FCC Environment has officially opened the 155,000 tonnes-per-year capacity Energy from Waste (EfW) facility at Millerhill, near Edinburgh.
The £142 million facility entered into operation in April this year, one month ahead of schedule and on budget.
The plant – which will process 135,000 tonnes of household residual waste with a further 20,000 tonnes of commercial waste – forms part of plans to divert all of Scotland’s waste from landfill.
And, despite the Scottish government having announced that it is pushing back its start date for a ban on biodegradable municipal waste to landfill from 2021, FCC’s chief executive Paul Taylor said that the plant will be an important development for the region going forward.
“You need facilities like this to avoid landfill in the future, despite the ban being delayed slightly. It’s important to highlight that this facility was built after the joint committees here thought many years ago about reducing landfill.”
Mr Taylor added: “The facility will not only divert the large amount of waste ending up in landfill but will also generate crucial energy for local communities. This important step will benefit both councils as well as the businesses and families in the area, not to mention the environmental benefits it will deliver to Midlothian’s landscape.”
Construction at the brownfield site, formerly the Millerhill Marshalling Yard, began in October 2016 with the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) role delivered through a joint venture between FCC Medio Ambiente SA and Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI).
The facility features HZI combustion technology, as well as HZI XeroSorp, a dry flue gas treatment system designed to reduce the plant’s water consumption and boost thermal energy recovery.
The plant has been receiving residual waste since entering commissioning in October 2018, becoming fully operational in April 2019. The official opening event on Friday (September 20) for the site bought the partner councils, FCC Environment and other key stakeholders together to mark the occasion.
Councillor Cammy Day, depute leader of the City of Edinburgh council, said: “This wonderful new facility is great news for Edinburgh – it will go a long way to help meet our Zero Waste target. The Scottish Government has a target for no more than 5% of waste being sent to landfill by 2025. Before this great new facility came on stream, Edinburgh and Midlothian councils sent about two thirds of our household waste to landfill.”
Cllr Day added: “The capability of this new plant is astonishing. With over 150,000 tonnes of waste diverted from ending up in landfill, this will be the key aspect of being on track towards reaching the milestone Zero Waste target.”
Midlothian council’s leader, Cllr Derek Milligan added: “I am delighted to see this flagship project taking off and ready to generate green energy from waste. It is crucial to transfer household and commercial waste to advanced facilities like this rather than discarding them in landfill. This forward-thinking site will benefit the local area in a number of ways from protecting the beautiful local landscape to providing green energy.”