Machinex working on MRF of the future in Coventry, England
175,000 tonnes-per-year, artificially-intelligent facility to begin construction this summer
Machinex and UK-based Sherbourne Recycling Ltd., have signed initial contracts to complete a world-leading, next generation MRF in Coventry, England. Sherbourne Recycling will oversee the project, creating new jobs for the local economy through 2022, when commissioning of the new facility begins.
Sherbourne is a newly created company, wholly owned by eight local municipal authorities, including Coventry City Council, and will provide capital for the construction, with each civic partner also committing to a long-term waste supply agreement to commit all items collected from homeowners for recycling.
Richard Dobbs, Managing Director said, "Over the last decade it has been increasingly challenging and expensive for local authorities to manage recyclate collected at the curbside.
"By creating a partnership, we were able to develop the business case for a regional 175 ktpa [175,000 tonnes per year] facility, and now with Machinex on board as our process equipment provider, we are really excited about being able to take greater control and push market boundaries."
He said after months of hard work, April 1st signifies a huge achievement for all involved in the project. "With all contracts now in place we can begin the hard work of building the MRF of the future and creating our place in the market."
The MRF of the future owes its name to the integration of artificial intelligence at the heart of the system, including the most advanced technologies such as several sorting robots and optical sorters, to be designed and installed by Quebec-based Machinex.
Machinex says the AI will allow real-time interconnectivity between the main sorting equipment, and the operations management of this facility will be based, among other things, on the data collected by the AI. The plant is expected to achieve high rates of material purity from the widest range of material recycled commercially and by householders, including low grade, single use plastics.
Site clearance was completed following planning approval by Coventry City Council in January, and construction of the facility will be delivered by Nottingham, England-based Clegg Group.
John Moxon, business development director at Clegg Group, said: "We're delighted to be on board and supporting with the construction of this state-of-the-art facility. This project will make a real difference to the recycling capabilities in the West Midlands so we're really looking forward to commencing work and bringing this project to life."
The new facility will be located on former allotment land adjacent to the Energy from Waste facility that is operated by The Coventry & Solihull Waste Disposal Company Ltd (CSWDC).
It will be just over 12,000 square metres and set on 4-acre site allocated by Coventry City for waste use. Construction is scheduled to begin on site in summer 2021, taking approximately 15 months for the initial building construction to be completed. The next step will then be the arrival of Machinex to install the waste sorting and processing equipment and system. The facility is expected to be fully operational by summer 2023.
Over the last three months the project team, led by Coventry City Council, have worked with Machinex and Clegg Group to refine the maximized use of the site, and conclude on-going discussions with CSWDC to provide a private wire connection from the Energy from Waste Facility already at the site, to power the MRF.
Jonathan Menard, VP Sales & Strategic Positioning at Machinex said, "Since selection, back in December 2020, we have worked hard with Sherbourne to offer some value engineering and finalize the contractual documentation to ensure a successful project and optimize efficiency of the sorting system.
"We are pleased to work with the whole team at Sherbourne and we could not think of a better partnership to accomplish the 'MRF of the Future,' and to disrupt the industry."
Once operational the facility will be able to process 175,000 tonnes of recyclate on an annual basis, from both domestic and commercial sources. By investing in technologies to achieve exceptionally high purity rates and tackle a wider range of waste materials, including single use plastics, the facility will be able to target UK-based end processors and command a higher market price for the material streams created.
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.