The facilities at Path Head landfill site means that non-recycled waste collected from households in and around Gateshead is now producing enough electricity to power over 3,500 homes.
The power generated displaces fossil fuel power generation, reducing the UK’s emissions of CO2 by 7,150 tonnes per year, which contributes to the UK’s reduction of global warming targets.
Leading recycling and resource management company SITA UK has installed three gas engines at the Path Head site, which is located just off the A695 bypass between Blaydon and Ryton. This gives the site a projected output of 16,644 MegaWatt hours a year – enough electricity to power 3,540 homes.
Electricity is generated by using the energy content of the methane in the landfill gas generated on site to power the gas engines. Landfill gas is classified as a qualifying renewable technology and power generated from the facility receives support under the Renewables Obligation.
Bob Thompson, north east operations manager for SITA Power, said: "This is an important investment for the company and the region. We are now generating electricity from our landfill sites across the north east, as well as at our dedicated energy-from-waste plant in the Tees Valley. Even with increased recycling, there is still some waste that will need to be landfilled, but it is important that we landfill in modern, well-run facilities like Path Head to generate renewable forms of electricity."
The Path Head site opened in 2007. It accepts non-hazardous waste such as household waste, demolition waste and road sweepings collected from households and commercial premises. It is expected to cease operating in 2017, after which it will be sealed and fully restored as lowland heath.