Efw operator welcomes first waste delivery by rail, reducing emissions by 76%

Grey cuboidal buildings with chimneys sitting within landscape of green trees and fields with a railway train visible in the foreground

Energy-from-waste operator enfinium has received its first waste delivery by train at its Ferrybridge site in West Yorkshire this week (9 July).

The group says this milestone expands the area that enfinium’s Ferrybridge 1 and 2 facilities can receive unrecyclable waste from, reduces road traffic and lowers transport emissions. The trial also highlights the potential for using rail freight to connect the plant to a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) cluster, offering an alternative to pipeline connections.

The rail delivery trial was conducted in collaboration with industry partner, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, and rail freight and logistics company, Freightliner. Over the course of the weekend around 700 tonnes of household waste delivered to Ferrybridge using pre-existing railhead infrastructure linking back to the site’s heritage as a coal-fired power station.

Using rail freight now enables enfinium’s Ferrybridge site to take more unrecyclable waste from across the North of England, diverting it away from climate damaging landfill. In addition, waste delivery by rail can provide significant environmental benefits. Rail freight reduces road traffic and this delivery alone displaced around 40 waste trucks. It also produces on average 76% lower emissions per freight tonne-kilometre compared to road freight.1 enfinium has committed to reach net zero across its operations by 2033, as outlined in its Net Zero Transition Plan.

This delivery also marks a significant step for enfinium’s CCS and carbon removal plans. In addition to reducing enfinium’s operating emissions, active rail infrastructure opens up the possibility that enfinium can connect to one of the UK’s emerging CCS clusters by rail, rather than pipeline.

enfinium’s Net Zero Transition Plan also sets out the business’s plans to deploy CCS technology across all its sites, backed by a £1.7 billion investment programme. With CCS, enfinium would generate 1.2 million tonnes of high-quality carbon removals each year. Achieving this goal requires effective transport and storage infrastructure for captured CO2. For Ferrybridge 1 and 2, rail has now been established as a feasible transport option that could connect enfinium to the East Coast Cluster or similar storage infrastructure.

Ferrybridge is the largest energy from waste plant in the UK, diverting up to 1.45 million tonnes of waste from landfill and generating 170 MW of energy, enough to power 340,000 homes per annum.

Dr Jane Atkinson CBE, Chief Operating Officer at enfinium, said: “I am delighted that this trial has connected Ferrybridge to the UK’s rail network for the first time. I am grateful for the support of SUEZ and Freightliner in enabling us to achieve this step. It has opened up a range of opportunities for the business to help local authorities around the UK divert their unrecyclable waste away from climate damaging landfill.

“Rail transport is a critical part of our plans to transform our Ferrybridge site into a decarbonisation hub. Not only will greater use of rail reduce our emissions, it marks an important milestone for our carbon capture deployment plans. Transporting CO2 by rail to a coastal cluster for permanent storage offshore is one of the ways we can accelerate the decarbonisation of this strategically important site and help the West Yorkshire region achieve its 2038 Net Zero target.”

Daniel Carolan from SUEZ said: “This is an exciting opportunity for SUEZ, and it builds on the significant experience we’ve gained moving waste by trains elsewhere in the country. Transporting waste by rail helps to reduce road traffic and produces significantly lower emission compared to transporting it by road.

It was great to work with enfinium and Freightliner to make this delivery a reality and see the first waste delivery by train to Ferrybridge. More opportunities to move waste by train allows the industry to think differently about how waste is transported and disposed of.”

Ed Wilson, Commercial Director at Freightliner, commented: “We are delighted to be involved in this important and first of its kind trial alongside enfinum and SUEZ. Freightliner’s ability to build strong, long-standing relationships with our customers allows us to deliver reliable and safe services.

This trial showcases the importance of the development of rail across the UK and beyond in order to support and help achieve key sustainability targets, remove traffic from our busy road network and to support moving more volume by rail.”