TEESIDE, ENGLAND (Aug. 9, 1 p.m. ET) — A U.S.-based gas and chemical group is to create what it calls the world's largest energy-from-waste facility in Teeside.
Air Products and Chemicals Inc., which is based in Allentown, Pa., plans to start construction in the next few weeks, with the intention of converting the first of 350,000 metric tons of residual waste a year – capable of powering 50,000 homes – by 2014.
The plant, a U.K. first, will use AlterNRG advanced gasification technology to create up to 50 megawatts annually. Air Products hopes it will also have the potential to generate renewable hydrogen, with fuelling public transport a possible end-use.
Matthew Aylott of the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC), which advised the government on the energy-from-waste market, said he expected a “high proportion of plastics” to be included in the 350,000 metric ton figure.
“This is hopefully the first of a number of such plants,” Aylott told PRW. INEOS and British Airways are looking at similar operations to convert municipal solid waste into road and jet fuel respectively.
While the scale of investment in the plant is not known it is nevertheless expected to lead to the creation of 50 permanent jobs, as well as up to 700 construction jobs while it is being built.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg welcomed the development: “Advanced gasification has a key role to play in delivering renewable energy and I warmly welcome the decision by Air Products to proceed with its Tees Valley Renewable Energy Facility.”
Clegg said Air Products' announcement “reflects the U.K.'s commitment and support for clean energy, combined with our stable and transparent environment for investors.
“With the world's spotlight on the UK this summer, we are working hard through the British Business Embassy program to help U.K. and international companies to capitalise on new trade and investment opportunities to deliver safe, secure, sustainable and smarter energy ‘ecosystems', from extraction through to the end user.”
Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity following a recent banding review announced last month could incentivize between about $31.2 billion and about $39 billion of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017, said the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
Geraint Evans, head of biofuels and bioenergy at NNFCC, said waste was an underutilized resource for energy generation and gasification “could hold the key to unlocking its vast potential.
“We will now apply our engineering and policy expertise to ensure this is just the first of many advanced gasification plants built here in the U.K.”
The British Plastics Federation welcomed the development, with its public and corporate affairs director Philip Law commenting: ‘‘Used plastics are too valuable a resource to consign to landfill. For fractions unfeasible to recycle this is a great initiative.''