The Landfill Diversion Strategy, formulated by Advantage West Midlands as part of its low carbon regional economic strategy, contains a location analysis tool designed to identify sites with potential to host waste technologies as an alternative to landfill.
The tool, believed to be the first of its kind, pinpoints sites for technologies such as anaerobic digestion by analysing individual factors and assessing the impacts of development on such sites.
Advantage West Midlands worked with the private-sector led Waste Infrastructure Advisory Group to come up with the strategy and location analysis tool which, it believes could help drive significant infrastructure and investment to the region as well as diverting waste away from landfill.
West Midlands Waste Infrastructure Advisory Group chair Peter Jones said: “This tool is a way of identifying the most appropriate politically, economically and operationally sensible locations for waste technologies.”
According to Jones, the tool allows waste to be viewed as a resource and an opportunity.
He said: “What we have got is an opportunity to displace fossil carbon and how do you go about that?
“You map the locations using the tool, big one or two megawatt locations that are using fossil gas, electricity and combined heat and power on your patch.”
The tool acts by mapping where the waste sources are in terms of materials and then the next stage is to identify specific sites where waste treatment technologies could be housed.
Jones explained: “The tool measures the suitably of those sites against certain factors which are communication, the virtues of the site, the socio-political impact, biodiversity and the intrinsic quality of the energy load.
“What are these places? They are places like exhibition centres that are going to be around for the next 20-30 years, processing centres, docks and food plants. The energy generated by the technology can then supply these sites.
“The site then drives the energy profile, the energy profile drives the waste technology, the technology drives the feedstock and then you tell this system what you want.”
Using the tool, AWM has already identified and ranked an initial shortlist of potential sites and working with WRAP it is awarding a series of grants to help boost investment in the new technologies.
It is believed that this tool could help boost the economy in the region and create jobs.
AWM low carbon infrastructure manager Thomas Anderson said: “We have already had interest from big companies on this and if we can get them on board it will get the much needed investment back into the area.”
Following the use of the tool in the West Midlands there have already been enquiries about implementing something similar in other areas of the country with Jones confirming that the London Waste and Recycling Board has expressed an interest.