DOZENS of North-East jobs will be created after a £75m waste-to-energy plant was given further approval.
O2N Energy plans to build a factory on the former ICI Billingham site at Haverton Hill.
The facility will annually turn 150,000 tonnes of Teesside household and industrial waste into electricity for thousands of homes.
Bosses say the plant, based on land owned by Scott Brothers, will create 36 North-East jobs, which they have stressed will go to local workers, as well as support hundreds in the supply chain during construction.
The company received planning consent for the 15-mega watt factory in 2010, but it has now been given approval to make minor changes, including increases in building sizes and stacks to remove gas flow.
The plant, believed to be the largest of its kind in the UK, could be operational by 2016 and is being designed by Aecom, the firm behind the Shard, in London.
A report from Newcastle-based Wardell Armstrong, on behalf of O2N, said the plant would boost the region's industrial strength by making positive use of a brownfield site.
It said: “The development will create much needed jobs in the area, especially in the light of jobs lost through the closure of other plants in the area.
“There will be 36 new jobs, and the strong likelihood is that almost all will go to local people.
“The intention is to take 150,000 tonnes of untreated waste every year, to recover the recyclables, and gasify the residue by means of a boiler and steam turbine to provide electricity.
“The electricity produced will be fed to the grid via an underground cable.”
Stockton Borough Council planners approved the proposals, saying work must start in the next three years.
The move comes as the presence of waste-to-energy developments in the North-East continues to rise.
US firm Air Products is building an advanced gasification plant on Tees Valley Enterprise Zone land, near the North Tees Chemical Complex, Billingham, which will create 50 jobs and power 50,000 homes when it starts burning domestic and commercial waste this year.
Emerald Biogas, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is already powering homes by converting 50,000 tonnes of discarded food into heat, power and fertiliser every year through anaerobic digestion.
WHAT IS GASIFICATION?
- Gasification is a thermal process converting waste material into a gas
- This syngas, which is rich in carbon monoxide, is produced by heating residual waste until it breaks down into hydrogen and carbon
- The syngas contains carbon monoxide, hydrogen and some trace gases, which, when mixed with air, are oxidised at high temperatures and used in a steam cycle to produce electricity