Burnt waste to heat homes in Bicester?

View of NW Bicester first phase
View of NW Bicester first phase

BICESTER residents could cut fuel bills and help the environment by warming their homes with waste heat from the Ardley incinerator, a new report suggests.

The 300,000-tonne-per-year incinerator next to the Ardley landfill site could be up and running by the end of 2015, and a report being presented to Cherwell District Council this week says heat produced as a by-product could be piped to homes in Bicester.

Although the proposal mainly concerns the proposed 5,000-home North West Bicester development, the report to Cherwell District Council’s Eco Bicester Delivery Board also says heat could be piped to other parts of Bicester.

If all waste heat from the Ardley incinerator was used, it would save 55,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to a sixth of Bicester’s total carbon footprint, the report says.

Councillor Lynne Pratt, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s environment committee, said: “In principle, it can only be a good thing.

“If we’ve got to have the incinerator, we should make the best use of it we can.

“I think everybody would say, ‘let’s look into it.’”

Heat produced by burning household waste is likely to cost less than wholesale gas prices, the report indicates, and has the potential for long-term supply and price security.

A 2.5km stretch of heated pipe would be needed to connect North West Bicester with the incinerator at Ardley, although incinerator operator Viridor would have to apply for planning permission.

Customers would still be able to control how warm their homes get using a control panel like those on modern boilers. Bills would be calculated on the amount of heat used.