Dr Read, external affairs director at Suez Recycling and Recovery UK and the current president of CIWM, was speaking to EWB in his role as part of the news service’s Editorial Panel.
Commenting on the confirmation earlier this month that EfW plants would be eligible for government funding to develop carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology, Dr Read said the sector had a big opportunity that it could not let slip by.
Two energy recovery plants, the Suez Tees Valley (STV) facility in Haverton Hill and Viridor’s Runcorn EfW are both involved in two CCUS clusters.
Dr Read explained: “In the new year we’ll be really getting moving with CCUS, we’re located adjacent to the pipeline, so we’re well placed and need minimal infrastructure to connect in.
“For me when you say CCUS it is the U that’s important as not everybody in the history of EfW has got new initiatives right. Take the example of heat offtake, look how long they were trying to do it after the event at SELCHP, and the relatively few other examples of successfully making use of heat from EfW.
“Issues can be parked but we shouldn’t be parking issues such as this. There’s lots of industrial options to move the carbon back where the carbon needs to be. This gives the opportunity of making some EfW facilities net positive and that’s the golden ticket.”
Dr Read who was speaking shortly after his return from the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, where he and Suez were promoting the waste sector, said the UK needed a climate change “tsar” to make a real difference.
“What we need is a number 10 remit to be across climate change, someone like Michael Gove as he could be across a number of government departments.
“BEIS is industry and climate change needs a foundation stone. Energy is the big ticket, and transport needs to be in there, but it has its own department already. If we aren’t ready to decarbonise across sectors including waste, transport and agriculture it won’t work. We’re just going round in circles of least cost.”