The Tees Valley plant, depicted in the graphic, will divert up to 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste from a nearby landfill per year. The plant, the first of its kind in the UK, has the capacity to produce enough renewable energy power up to 50,000 homes.
Air Products has secured the necessary environmental and planning approvals, and work has already begun to prepare the site. Full-scale construction will begin in next few weeks. The facility is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2014, the company said.
The Tees Valley Renewable Energy facility’s core conversion technology, a Westinghouse gasifier supplied by AlterNRG, has been used in other countries, such as Japan. Advanced gasification is more efficient than conventional energy-from-waste processes and has a smaller environmental impact, producing 42 percent fewer CO2 emissions per MW hour than incineration, Air Products said.
The advanced gasification technology has the potential to generate a wide range of products, including heat, hydrogen, chemicals and fuels. In the long term, there’s potential to generate renewable hydrogen for commercial use, such as fueling public transport.
Air Products operates two hydrogen refueling stations in the London area, which supplies fuel for a fleet of buses that operate along RV1 route as well as special taxis deployed to transport VIPs during the Olympics Games. The taxi fleet refuels at an Air Products facility at Heathrow Airport, while the buses refuel at a station in East London.
This spring, Air Products opened a hydrogen manufacturing facility that uses excess gas from a neighboring ExxonMobil refinery in the Netherlands to make its product. Hydrogen made at the facility is then used by the refinery for the desulphurization of oil products and in the manufacture of petrochemicals.