Lakeside EFW

News Articles

Chemists of all ages inspired by Colnbrook’s Lakeside Energy from Waste facility

29 August 2017

The Kirby family work together to identify different properties of magnetic and non-magnetic materials

Last week, Colnbrook’s Lakeside Energy from Waste facility and Education Centre - a joint venture beween Grundon Waste Management and Viridor – opened its doors to over 30 existing and budding chemists, aged from eight - 78!

Organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Brunel University, the event was designed to encourage young people to explore and understand how chemistry is woven into the everyday process of generating sustainable electricity from something we all have far too much of – rubbish!

The visitors started their day by checking out their ideas of what can be reduced, reused or recycled – as well as getting some practical experience of why putting the right stuff in the right bin is so important. Even those who thought they knew what could and couldn’t be recycled were surprised by the challenges of recycling complex, everyday wastes like coffee cups and juice cartons.

Once everyone had worked out what could be recycled, they were kitted out in protective clothing to tour the Energy from Waste facility – and find out what happens to the rubbish left over after as much as possible has been recovered for recycling.

Everyone watched in awe as – in echoes of Toy Story 3 – each giant grab picked up the weight in rubbish of an adult Tyrannosaurus Rex.

They then followed in the footsteps of Prince Philip – who officially opened the facility in 2010 – and watched the rubbish burn at 1000°C – about the temperature of lava erupting from a volcano.

The wonder of watching non recyclable rubbish being burnt at the same temperature as the lava erupting from a volcano

Young and old alike were astonished to find out that the 450,000 tonnes of non recyclable rubbish burnt every year produces enough energy to power about 56,000 homes – a town roughly the size of Slough.

Justine Lai and her family enjoyed all of their visit and found it very useful and thought provoking.

“This visit was really fun, informative and practical – and we got the chance to see and think about our rubbish after it gets taken away. My eldest daughter particularly enjoyed being able to see some application of what she is learning in A level Chemistry” said Justine.

Jane Essex, a lecturer at Brunel University and a specialist in Chemistry Education, rounded off the day by running some chemical experiments in the LKS Education Centre. The visiting budding young scientists rolled up their sleeves to check out what happened to different types of plastics when they were heated up over a Bunsen Burner, did some practical work with magnets and looked at the chemistry challenges of safely disposing of batteries and aerosols.

Jane, of the Chiltern and Middlesex Branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry was very excited by the visit.

“The Lakeside Energy from Waste facility showcases a wide range of chemical principles in an awe inspiring setting. Hopefully, by combining practical experiments with a visit to a real life facility we can inspire more students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at school – and become the scientists of the future” she concluded.

Local school children learn how to help save the planet at the Lakeside (Colnbrook) Energy from Waste facility

19 July 2017

The Lakeside Energy from Waste Education Centre sits in the middle of a lake surrounded by wildlife - just like being in the countryside

Local schoolchildren and their teachers are learning how to increase and improve recycling and energy efficiency in their schools and in their homes – by visiting the Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW) facility in Colnbrook, near Slough.

The visits are very popular with Key Stage 2 Eco Groups and School Councils – as they support cross curricular topic work on recycling, energy and waste. The half day programme is designed to inspire and motivate both teachers and students.

Activities start by crossing the drawbridge to the Lakeside Education Centre, which floats like an island in the middle of a lake, surrounded by countryside. Here the groups participate in activities designed to help them sort their household rubbish more effectively – so only waste that can’t be recycled is sent to the EfW to be turned in to sustainable energy.

Charley Hall, the School Council Lead from Castleview School said of her visit,

“We all, staff included, have had a lovely and insightful morning. We are looking forward to going back to school and seeing what we can do better.”

The second part of the visit provides the opportunity for the students to dress up in safety gear – bright yellow jackets, goggles and hard hats and walk across to the control room to see the giant grabs in action. Each grab can hold upto 9 tonnes of non recyclable rubbish – approximately the weight of an adult Tyrannosaurus Rex! The grabs load the rubbish in to the burn chambers – where it is completely burned at about 1000°C – the same temperature as lava when it erupts from a volcano!

The entire visit is designed to open students’ and teachers’ eyes to real life applications of classroom science and maths – as well as managing the precious resources of the Earth.

Julia Garrett, Deputy Head Teacher of St Marys CE Primary school found that all her students really enjoyed the entire visit.

“Superb experience and information for the group – suitable for the youngest children and challenging for the oldest ones. Really interesting re local facilities too”.

Local school children watch in awe as the grab at the Lakeside Energy from Waste Facility picks up a Tyrannosaurus Rex weight of rubbish

Danny Coulston – the Operations Director for the Lakeside Energy from Waste facility – adds,

“Much of the non recyclable material we burn comes from Slough – so it’s really important that local residents sort their waste properly. If the schoolchildren who visit us understand why putting the right stuff in the right bin is so important, maybe their families will be encouraged to do this. This approach maximises recycling and makes sure only the right kind of waste is delivered to us, to turn in to enough sustainable energy to power 56,000 homes (roughly the size of Slough).”

For further information about school visits to LKS please email lakesidevisitors@viridor.co.uk.

Lakeside achieves zero waste to landfill target

24 April 2017

In a national first for Colnbrook, the local Lakeside Energy from Waste facility is leading the way by becoming the first in the country to achieve the zero waste to landfill target – and recycle all the residues left behind as it turns waste into sustainable energy.

A joint venture between two well established resource management companies – Grundon Waste Management and Viridor – the Lakeside Energy from Waste EfW facility at Colnbrook near Slough has been fully operational since 2012.

Since then, Danny Coulston – the Lakeside Operations Director – has overseen a steady stream of activities aimed at achieving the very best operating efficiency, reliability and environmental/sustainable credentials for the facility.

Danny Coulston says,

“Our latest achievement – which we are very proud of – is recycling everything from the plant. Most combustion processes – even domestic fires – create ash which needs to be disposed of. We produce two types of ash at Lakeside – and now we recycle 100% of both of these – so nothing goes to landfill.

“For the last 7 years, the incinerator bottom ash (IBA) – which is like the ash found in the bottom of domestic grates – has been transported to Brentford based Day Aggregates for recycling”.

Day Aggregates Managing Director James Day says,

“We use incinerator bottom ash (IBA) from plants like Lakeside to make sustainable, cost effective aggregates suitable for construction projects – and asphalt for road surfacing”.

Danny continues,

“The second ash is a residue from the gas clean up process, called APCr (Air Pollution Control residues). For the last 18 months, a company called Carbon8 Aggregates has been using this ash to make an entirely new, sustainable product”.

Stephen Roscoe, Technical Director of Carbon8 Aggregates explains,

“Carbon8 Aggregates uses an award winning process to recycle these residues and turn them in to a lightweight, high quality, sustainable, carbon neutral aggregate called C8 Aggregate (C8A). This is then used to make building blocks, precast and readymixed concrete and screed”.

Danny Coulston adds,

“We are really excited that the Colnbrook EfW is the first in the UK to reach this industry milestone. It is a credit to the two partners in the business that they have been prepared to commit the time, effort and financial support needed to reach this sustainable achievement”.

Other sustainable developments at the site include using ex SAS personnel to fit 980 solar panels on the sloping southern face of the roof – and installing LED lighting – which uses only 42% of the total original consumption of lighting energy.

Boys Brigade talk rubbish and recycling in Colnbrook

04 April 2017

Boys from the 1st Slough Boys Brigade Junior Section have been finding out what happens to their rubbish – courtesy of staff from Lakeside Energy from Waste. Lakeside Energy from Waste is a joint venture between two of the UK’s leading recycling and waste management companies – Grundon Waste Management and Viridor.

The Brigade’s Lieutenant, Brian Guilloud, wanted to encourage the youngsters to understand why recycling is so important – not just to their own environment in and around Slough – but also to the global safety of Planet Earth.

He contacted the local experts at Colnbrook – and asked them to talk to the Boys Brigade – which is based at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Slough.

First up was Grundon’s Marketing & Communications Manager, Anthony Foxlee-Brown who explained how they help to transform waste and recycle it in to new products.

Anthony said,

“It’s always exciting when people, no matter how young or old they are, suddenly realise that what they – and their families and friends do – can make a real difference – not just to their local area, but also to the whole world.

“Many of the boys had seen our bright blue Grundon lorries picking up waste – but didn’t really know what we did with it all – or the difference between rubbish and recycling. Hopefully they do now – and know exactly what to put in what bin.”

Boys Brigade with representatives from Grundon and Lakeside EfW JV with Viridor

Jayden Bruintjies said,

“Anthony told us that in Britain we produce 342 million tonnes of rubbish a year – that’s the same weight as 1.9 million blue whales – or 760,000 jumbo jets – that’s amazing.

“He asked us all to become “recycling champions” – so now we are going to tell everyone – our mums and dads, our friends and neighbours – that if we all put our unwanted paper, cards, cans, plastic bottles and glass in to the right recycling bins – it can all be used to make new things. Who even knew that 25 plastic bottles could be used to make one new fleece jacket?

“If we recycle aluminium cans, we don’t have to chop down tropical rain forests to dig aluminium out of the ground. If we recycle one glass bottle or jar, we can save enough energy to run a Nintendo Wii for five hours!”

Anthony then handed over to his colleague Danny Coulston, the Operations Director of the Lakeside Energy from Waste facility. Danny has worked in Colnbrook since before the building with the tall chimney was opened by Prince Philip in 2010.

Danny said,

“At the Lakeside energy from waste plant, we take all the rubbish that can’t be recycled – and turn it in to energy. This means we don’t have to burn other rare resources the world is running out of – like coal, gas or oil.

“We make more than enough green electricity for our own needs. This means we can put the rest back in to the National Grid – so the local pylons and cables can send it to all the houses in Slough – about 56,000 homes”.

As well as listening carefully to the speakers – and asking insightful questions – the boys also played some games, where they sorted different types of rubbish into piles that could – and couldn’t – be recycled.

Daniel Van Kessel added,

“I was amazed to learn how much of the rubbish we all make in our homes can actually be recycled – and that new things can be made from it. It was even more amazing that everything that can’t be recycled can be turned into energy, so we don’t need to mine coal or get gas and oil from places a long way away.”

Brian Guilloud summed up the evening by saying,

“We want all our boys to understand the world they live in – as well as helping to make a real contribution to improving the local quality of life. It’s important they recognise that what they do – or don’t do – with their rubbish has a knock on effect across not only Slough, but also the rest of the world – not just now but for many years to come.

“The speakers from Grundon and Lakeside really brought the whole business of waste, recycling and sustainability to life – in a way I think the boys will remember for a very long time”.