Air Products quits Tees Valley gasification

Article by Staff Writer

AIR PRODUCTS has abandoned its Tees Valley energy-from-waste (EfW) projects in the UK, blaming design and operational challenges for a failure set to cost the company as much as US$1bn.

Had they been completed, the advanced plasma gasification plants would have reduced landfilling by converting 700,000 t/y of non-recyclable waste into syngas that would have been burned to generate enough electricity to power 100,000 homes. The technical difficulties surrounding the project were well known after Air Products called a halt to construction of the second project in November, laying off 700 construction workers as it sought to learn from ongoing modifications to the first plant.

It has now announced that recent testing and analysis has “indicated that additional design and operational challenges would require significant time and cost to rectify” and as such is no longer in the interest of the company to continue the Tees Valley projects. The company said in a statement that the failure of the business will cost it between US$900m–US$1bn in the writedown of its assets.

Whether the announcement spells the end of what could be the UK’s largest gasification project remains to be seen.

Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, told the BBC: “I will be seeking assurances from Air Products that they are looking to find a sustainable, long-term buyer who can continue with this project and that they are not just looking to scrap the whole plant, which is nearly complete.'

Air Products says that it will direct its resources to its core industrial gases business.

“We pushed very hard to make this new EfW technology work and I would like to thank the team who worked so diligently,” said Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi. “We appreciate the hard work of our employees and contractors at the site, and certainly understand their disappointment in this decision. We are also disappointed with the outcome.”

Article by Staff Writer

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