Waste-to-pellet business Waste Knot Energy (WKE) has admitted supplying a forged certificate about the quality of its feedstock claiming the paperwork was sent out to a potential offtaker due to an “administrative error”.
ENDS can reveal an entirely faked report claiming to have been prepared by consultancy DETS showing the attributes of WKE’s pellets, which it is marketing as solid improved recovered fuel (SIRF), was passed by email from WKE to a senior figure in the waste sector.
The email and attached report was then passed on to ENDS, by the recipient who asked not to be named. The source told ENDS: “I can categorically state that WKE did not send this analysis out as part of an administrative error, but to ‘prove’ their marketing material.”
ENDS understands the same email was also sent to others in the waste sector with the fake report attached as part of the same “administrative error”.
When ENDS showed the report to DETS it confirmed it was a fake and also that WKE was not on its system, and as a result had never been a client. It gives several details regarding the composition of the pellets, but elements appear to have been manipulated in order to show the pellets in a better light.
According to the source the result for chlorine, one of the key issues with dried pellets, has been adjusted downwards compared to the original ‘as received’ sample, when drying usually increases the proportion of chlorine in the potential feedstock.
As a result, the gross and net calorific value of the pellets also seem to have been altered. This appears to have been done to give the impression the pellets have a better heating value than they actually have, according to the source.
DETS, which is now part of waste company Suez, further told ENDS the job number for the report is for another customer for “completely unrelated testing.” The sample numbers used in the report are from 2017, while the job number was from 2019 - neither from last year as it appears on the faked report.
A former employee of DETS appears to have signed off the report, however they left in 2017, three-years before the report was allegedly written, DETS also confirmed.
A spokesperson for WKE said: “The company is completely transparent about the analysis of our pellets and the details are available on our website. This certificate is a mock-up intended for use in an internal presentation.
“The document should not have been communicated externally; this was an administrative error. Our sole focus is to solve a problem for high-energy-use industries, by supplying a cheaper and greener alternative to fossil fuels.”
WKE made headlines in August last year, when it announced plans for a pellet-producing plant, which will be able to turn out more than 240,000 tonnes a year, in Teesside.
The company plans eight such pellet-producing facilities in total, which would have an overall production capacity of about 2Mt/yr.
At the time of the announcement, WKE also confirmed investment fund Gresham House would be backing it. A spokesperson for Gresham House said it “declines to comment” on the story, when contacted by ENDS.
In February this year a spokesperson for WKE told ENDS it was due to start producing pellets by June this year, which would be next month if things have stayed on track.
Last year WKE also signed a £132m (€149.2m) five-year supply deal with Netherlands-based broker Komercon.