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Biffa Mechanical and Biological treatment plant

Mechanical and Biological Treatment

Our flagship Mechanical and Biological Treatment Facility was built at Brookhurst Wood, Horsham, through the provision of a 25-year contract with West Sussex County Council.

We work partnership with the council to reduce the amount of non-recycled ‘black bag’ household waste that West Sussex sends to landfill. The new facility is designed to divert over 75% of incoming material into a resource. Our cutting-edge Mechanical and Biological Treatment plant has the capacity to process over 310,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The facility includes the mechanical recovery of both recyclable material and residual waste for RDF, with any biodegradable material treated within the AD plant to generate electricity. The plant can also produce up to 4.5MW of electricity to power the MBT facility and export to the national grid. Mechanical and Biological Treatment is not a single technology, but rather a combination of sorting and treatment technologies, and is a proven and reliable way of handling waste.

The MBT Waste Process:

  • Rubbish is delivered to the facility, where it is then shredded.
  • The shredded waste passes over a series of conveyors and sorting equipment, which separates out biodegradable waste that easily rots (mainly food waste) from other materials.
  • This sorting process also separates out metals, which are sent for recycling.
  • The remaining shredded material (mostly paper and plastic) is used to produce Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).
  • The separated biodegradable waste is broken down by anaerobic digestion. This produces two main products:
    • Biogas - This methane-rich gas generates renewable energy in a combined heat and power plant. This process can generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes. It is used to power the facility and neighbouring industry, and has the potential for export to the National Grid.
    • Digestate - This compost-like output replaces the use of soil as daily cover for the Brookhurst Wood landfill site. In the future, the digestate could also be used for land remediation or could be dried to create a fossil fuel alternative.
  • Some waste rejects and residues cannot be used as a resource or recycled; these are landfilled at Brookhurst Wood.

You can find more information about our Mechanical and Biological Treatment facility on the dedicated West Sussex Waste website