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A wider view

16th September 2015 Posted by

Over the last few weeks there have been many discussions in the trade media about the volumes of RDF being shipped overseas, exploring trends so far, whether this year will see more or less volumes than last, and which company will lead the league table.  Although the conjecture and positioning is fascinating to watch, it does mask a number of areas about the alternative fuels market.

Firstly, month on month figures for this year exceed those achieved for the same months in previous years which would suggest exports will be higher than ever this year – contrary to what industry commentators are predicting.  While imports to countries like the Netherlands appear to be flat lining, others like Norway and Sweden are filling this void and showing considerable increases.

However, it is important to remember not all alternative fuels are exported and the debate about exports does not consider what we use here in the UK.  For example, we are commissioning a new solid recovered fuel (SRF) facility in Warwickshire this week, which will provide fuel an adjacent CEMEX cement production plant.  This means the amount of SRF we produce and use in the UK this year is expected to exceed the total we exported in 2014.  Next year, with the expansion of RDF and SRF production at our Tilbury facility, exports are likely to take another jump forward and exceed our domestic supply again.

So with other domestic RDF and SRF suppliers and with the wood fuel market included, the whole remit of the alternative fuels market is very different to that represented by exported volumes only.  Widening the debate to include all alternative fuels, to consider domestic and export and to consider higher grade and low grade fuels is essential to understand the market in the short to long term and will provide a far more rounded and beneficial set of discussions than one centred on exports only.

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