ICE visit to Essex MBT project.

Institution of Civil Engineers members and guests recently visited the Essex Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) project in Basildon and were treated to a presentation on the scheme and a tour of the construction site.  The £120M project is being designed and constructed by UBB – a joint venture between Spanish company Urbaser and UK contractor Balfour Beatty.

The plant – located off Courtauld Road in Basildon and visible from the A127 – will process black bag waste from Essex recovering items that can be recycled before treating the left over waste to reduce its environmental impact.  Treatment of waste from Essex in this way will reduce the amount sent to landfill which is becoming increasingly untenable and expensive. In 2010/11 Essex County Council paid nearly £16 in landfill tax.

UBB Essex
Architects visualisation of completed plant

The state-of-the-art plant will process over 400,000 tonnes of black back waste per year from all corners of Essex including Southend.  The mechanical treatment part of the plant will recover 40% of this as recyclable waste including metals and plastics through a combination of manual selection, screening, magnetic and optical separation.

The remaining 60% will spend 6-7 weeks composting in one of three enormous sheds where the biological treatment process will reduce its bulk by 50%.  Within each shed an automatic bucket wheel excavator linked to conveyors will move the waste from one end where it enters to the other end where it is removed.

MBT Process (from UBBEssex website)

The residual waste can then be sent to landfill (only 30% of the original weight), used as inert landscaping fill or even burnt in appropriate power stations.  Many plants like the one at Basildon have Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities attached.  Essex County Council however opted for a more cost effective solution involving treatment only.

Works to the plant are well advanced with civil works nearing completion and fit out of the process equipment and mechanical & Electrical services underway.  The plant is due to commence running in mid 2015.

More details of the plant and the processes can be found on UBB’s website at and in particular in the information booklet produced for the planning application which can be found here

An album of photos from the visit can be found on my Google+ site here.  A selection of these are included below with captions:

Safety briefing
Safety briefing
MBT - 0005
Inside the tipping hall where the waste is received
MBT - 0009
The manual selection building


MBT - 0010
Later processing and deposition areas
MBT - 0012
Inside one of the 3 rotating screens
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MBT - 0007
The far end of the mechanical treatment equipment
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One of the three enormous composting sheds
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A bucket wheel excavator with conveyor behind
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Our assembled group and hosts
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The floor of the sheds will have a layer of filter stone to let water drain out and to blow air through
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The main office complex and visitor centre

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