Energy plant planned next to Chelmsford racecourse

A power plant that can generate enough energy to power 700 homes a year is being planned for Chelmsford.

Moulsham Hall Farms Ltd and easyPower International are proposing the development of a 1MW electricity generating plant – powered by solid recovered fuel (SRF) – on land adjacent to the Chelmsford City Racecourse at Great Leighs.

Essex County Council (ECC) has been requested a formal screening opinion for the proposed development in order to determine whether the proposed development needs an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of a planning application.

The proposal will have a throughput of less than 10,000 tonnes of SRF per year. Pyrolysis energy recovery using SRF means that during the reaction process no air is present in the reaction chamber.

Hydrogen and carbon monoxide are produced as reactions and create temperatures of over 700 degrees celsius.

The organic elements of the SRF are decomposed by the heat creating a gas which can be used to generate electricity.

Normally the flue gases are passed through a filter system and the fly ash is sent to landfill and the bottom ash is recycled for use in the construction industry.

SRF could be sourced from the region’s residual black bin and importantly, it could be used towards renewable energy targets and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Paul Munson, on behalf of Melville Dunbar Associates – the agent in the application – in a statement said: ” We therefore conclude that the impacts of the development proposals are unlikely to be significant enough to justify an environmental statement.

“We would therefore request Essex County Council to issue a screening opinion confirming that the proposed development is not an EIA development within the meaning of the EIA regulations.”

A notification from ECC will be decided in due course.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter