Waste plant to produce zero-emission fuel

Industrial gases and equipment supplier Air Products has begun work on a facility that will turn household, commercial and industrial waste into hydrogen for use in zero-emission vehicles.

The company has been granted planning permission to build an energy-from-waste facility in the Tees Valley, which will process up to 350,000 tonnes of waste per year converting it into around 50MW of energy.

An artist’s impression of Air Products’ Tees Valley gasification facility

The facility, which secured planning permission from Stockton-on-Tees council in August 2011, is expected to be operational by 2014.

Once completed, the plant will use advanced gasification technology provided by plasma gasification specialists AlterNRG to convert waste into renewable energy. It is anticipated that overall the facility will create up to 50 permanent jobs, as well as 700 jobs during the construction period.

Preparatory work has already begun onsite, with full scale construction expected to begin shortly.

The plant will have the capacity to produce hydrogen gas which can be used to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Hydrogen fuelling

Air Products’ hydrogen fuelling station at Heathrow airport, which opened last week, is currently being used as part of a trial involving five hydrogen powered taxis which emit no emissions, and are being road tested in London during the Olympic Games.

Delays to the opening of the Heathrow charging point meant that the taxi fleet had to be transported to Swindon for refuelling early last week, at a site run by gas supplier BOC (see AirQualityNews story).

John McGlade, chairman, president and chief executive of Air Products, said: “Our investment in advanced gasification energy-from-waste 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.

“The UK is committed to diversifying its sources of energy, strengthening its energy 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 that it will provide an indirect boost to the local economy through the use of local service companies, hotels and other businesses.”

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