Air Products today announced plans to build a new 49MW renewable energy plant in Tees Valley.
The proposed scheme, to be located at the Reclamation Pond site (adjacent to the North Tees Chemical Complex) near Billingham, will generate renewable electricity for up to 50,000 homes in the North East. It is anticipated that the scheme will create up to 50 permanent jobs and 500-700 jobs during its three-year construction period.
The renewable energy plant, which requires planning consent from Stockton on Tees Borough Council and an environmental permitting consent from the Environment Agency, will use advanced gasification technology provided by AlterNRG to convert pre-processed waste to baseload, renewable power. By diverting waste from landfill the proposed plant will offer an environmentally-friendly solution for the production of renewable energy in the North East. The plant also has the potential to generate renewable hydrogen for mobile and stationary energy applications and is being considered for a demonstration of Waste2Tricity’s fuel cell technology, potentially aiding moves in the North East to develop hydrogen technology.
As part of the planning and consultation process for the project an initial scoping document, which details the project and the measures that will be taken to consider its environmental impact, has been issued today to Stockton Borough Council. A full environmental assessment and programme of public and regulatory stakeholder consultation, with stakeholders such as the Environment Agency and Natural England, will take place over the coming months. If successful, it is anticipated that formal planning and environmental permit regulation applications will be submitted later this year.
Ian Williamson, European Hydrogen and Bio Energy Director at Air Products said, "Consultation with local stakeholders and residents about our plans is an important part of the project’s development process and we will be hosting drop-in sessions for local people over the coming months to explain the need for the project, the environmental merits of using the latest technologies and also the economic benefits to Teesside."
Commenting on the merits of generating energy from waste, Ian Williamson added: "The UK continues to dispose of large volumes of waste to landfill, some of which could be converted to energy using technology such as advanced gasification. The technology that Air Products is proposing to bring to Teesside provides an alternative solution to the disposal or incineration of waste, with over 90% of the waste arriving to the site being diverted from landfill and used as a renewable energy resource."
The project has received support from regional development agency One North East, which has invested £250,000 from the Tees Valley Industrial Programme (TVIP), to investigate the feasibility of constructing the proposed plant at the Reclamation Pond site. The site, owned by Teesside-based Impetus Reclamation, has been renamed the New Energy and Technology Business Park (NETBP) and will focus on energy efficient production facilities and the conversion of waste to energy, waste to fuels and other related products. Working in collaboration with Impetus Waste Management, Air Products will now carry out a full assessment into the availability of waste, the suitability of the site and the need for baseload renewable power in the area.
One North East is also investing £2.2m in a major land reclamation project at the New Energy and Technology Business Park (NETBP) through the TVIP.
One North East Chief Executive, Alan Clarke, said: "We are delighted with this signal of intent from Air Products and we are committed to making sure the Tees Valley is ready to grab investment opportunities like this one. This is especially true for industries like the energy and process sectors, in which the North East already has significant strength.
"The Tees Valley Industrial Programme is supporting the area’s industrial transition to a low carbon economy and advanced manufacturing. The land remediation work at the NETBP is a great example of our approach and will create a major new industrial site that could be the home for significant new development, supporting hundreds of new low-carbon, advanced manufacturing jobs."
Air Products plans have also been welcomed by a number of local organisations including NEPIC, North East Chamber of Commerce and Tees Valley Unlimited.
Neil Kenley, Strategic Investment and Marketing Director at Tees Valley Unlimited explained, "Alongside the creation of indirect and direct jobs, projects such as Air Products’ proposed facility are placing our region at the forefront of renewable energy resources that can provide a secure and diverse source of power for the future and help meet the UK’s renewable energy targets."