Thorney Park

Hi - can you give some more details around the Thorney Park plant? I see that it’s producing “renewable energy from landfill waste”. Can you elaborate? Is this capturing produced methane and burning it, or is it actively incinerating the waste?

Incineration is a controversial issue for me (and was a reason for me eliminating a number of choices of “green” energy suppliers), so I’m keen to understand this!

Many thanks.

Heya @David1997

Thorney Park was one of the first generating stations to be accredited under the ‘Closed Landfill Gas’ banding with Ofgem. There’s no incineration of waste involved in the process.

Methane and carbon dioxide are naturally produced as organic matter decomposes. So the gas produced is a by-product of the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste.

This gas is put into a spark ignition engine to produce electricity. Here’s a diagram that shows the process.

The waste at Thorney Park is 30 years old which means it has a high gas output. The
half hourly data shows that there’s hardly any downtime. That’s because there are different chemicals to what we see in waste nowadays. For example, silicon contaminates much of today’s waste which causes problems for spark ignition engines.

Not only are Thorney Park preventing the landfill being sent to the landfill gas flare but they have built a golf course on top! So you can play a round of 18 holes whilst the gas is being produced right beneath your feet.

Thanks - that’s great to know.