Air Products today announced it will build and operate the world’s largest renewable energy plant in the UK using advanced gasification energy-from-waste (EfW) technology.
The Tees Valley plant, located at the New Energy and Technology Business Park, near Billingham, Teesside, will be the first of its kind in the UK, and the largest of its kind anywhere in the world with an approximate capacity of 50MW.
The plant is expected to produce enough reliable, controllable, and renewable electricity to power up to 50,000 homes. Situated in a location with good access and connectivity to the local and national electrical distribution infrastructure and in close proximity to landfill disposal facilities, it will divert up to 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste from the landfill per year - helping to meet the UK’s waste diversion targets.
Air Products has longstanding expertise in building and operating large-scale industrial gas and energy-related projects on a safe, reliable and cost-effective basis. The plant is expected to create up to 700 construction jobs and over 50 permanent jobs once operational, helping to revitalize the local economy and grow a green skills base in advanced clean technology in the North East of England.
The Westinghouse advanced gasification technology provided by AlterNRG, is leading the next generation of EfW technologies. It offers a more efficient, cleaner conversion of waste-to-power than traditional EfW technologies and has the potential to generate a wider range of useful products, including heat, hydrogen, chemicals and fuels. Longer term, the potential generation of renewable hydrogen could be deployed for commercial use, such as fuelling public transport.
“Our investment in advanced gasification EfW technology is a natural extension of our onsite business model. Offering an innovative growth opportunity, it allows us to further extend our leading position in the global energy market and continue to deliver on Air Products’ commitment to sustainability,” said John McGlade, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products.
“The UK is committed to diversifying its sources of energy, strengthening its energy security and reducing carbon emissions. This pioneering clean energy technology model is well suited to these requirements, offering a sustainable solution to the UK’s waste management strategy. The facility will also create skilled jobs in the area and we are hopeful it will provide an indirect boost to the local economy through the use of local service companies, hotels and other businesses.”
Air Products has secured the necessary environmental and planning approvals and the renewable energy facility is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2014. Work has already begun to prepare the site. Full-scale construction activities will begin ramping up in the coming weeks.
“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. Air Products’ announcement reflects the UK’s commitment and support for clean energy, combined with our stable and transparent environment for investors,” said UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
“With the world’s spotlight on the UK this summer, we are working hard through the British Business Embassy program to help UK and international companies to capitalize on new trade and investment opportunities to deliver safe, secure, sustainable and smarter energy ‘ecosystems’, from extraction through to the end user,” added Clegg.