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£250 million zero-to-landfill Energy Park


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Proposed research and development centre


A £250million energy park which turns waste into reuseable products or energy leaving nothing in landfill is planned for Peterborough. The park earmarked for land behind Peterborough Power Station in Fengate aims to be an environmental answer to dumping waste in landfill sites.

It will create 300 jobs during its two year construction and a further 105 when it starts operation, which could be as soon as 2010.

Chris Williams, managing director of Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd which will build and run the park, said: "This energypark really is the answer to Peterborough’s problems – both environmentally and it terms of power production. It adds to the green credentials of the city while reducing pollution and landfill, boosting recycling and creating electricity.”

Creates power for 60,000 homes

Using market leading technology, the plant will turn waste into reuseable materials including glass, aggregates, acids and metals as well as creating enough electricity to power 60,000 homes a year. The 25-acre energypark would comply with strict Environment Agency guidelines which mean sound, smell, and emissions are negligible and there is no adverse effect on the surrounding environment and wildlife. The plans were unveiled to the public on 4 October and Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd has a range of public consultation planned including exhibitions in the city centre, public meetings and liaison with neighbours and key stakeholders in the city

Mr Williams continued: "We have already held one-to-one or round table discussions with interested parties including community leaders, environmental groups, MPs and Flag Fen to keep them updated of our intentions. We're eager to hear what the public has to say and hope we can answer any queries they may have."

The environmental answer to waste dumping

The firm originally submitted plans in 2005 but after listening to local concerns has revised the application and dramatically cut the size of the scheme to just half the waste capacity and a third of the energy production. It also no longer uses Global Olivine technology.

The energypark off Storey's Bar Road will consist of a research and development centre and two three-story (17m) main buildings each housing a waste receiving hall, combustion chamber and plasma treatment chamber. It will take up to 650,000 tonnes of waste per year from the county and an area in a 20-mile radius of Peterborough including Cambridge, Wisbech and Stamford.

The waste enters the park where it is immediately sorted into recyclables (plastic, glass, metals) and leftovers. The recyclables are recycled while the biomass residues are gasified, creating electricity. Residue from this process goes into the plasma chamber at temperatures at up to 6000C which reduces them to their original atoms, allowing them to be recombined and recycled as metal, glass and acid.

Some items separated in the recycling facility, like glass, metals or lightbulbs, are also put through the plasma to create new products, increasing the amount of recycling within the city. The site also benefits farmers by providing a use for biomass crops (either agricultural waste or specially grown) which are turned into energy, powering the plant and feeding the National Grid - removing the reliance on fossil fuels. All the products which come out of the plant are then sold on.

For example, metals go to steel manufacturers, aggregate goes to construction firms for hardcore, acid goes to chemical users like the steel industry or for swimming pools, while glass goes to water companies for filtration or is made into lightweight tiles. Crystal-type glass is also made on site. The facility uses cutting-edge technology which will put Peterborough at the forefront of environmental waste management, building on its Environment Capital aspirations.

While the combustion technology is already used in the UK, it will be the first time this PEM plasma unit is used in the country although it is currently in use in Japan, the United States, and Taiwan. Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd has a similar plant under consideration in Italy.

Right for the people of Peterborough

The energypark, which will only receive waste between 7am and 7pm, does draw the line at certain wastes and will not take radioactive and explosive substances, or hazardous materials such as hydroflourocarbons used in the chemical industry. Its doors will be open from 7am to 7pm, hosting 140 lorries a day – increasing the traffic flow in the area by just one per cent at peak times.

A permit to operate the park has been given approval by the Environment Agency, while the land, sandwiched between Peterborough Power Station and a site hoping for planning permission for three 90metre wind turbines, has already been earmarked by Peterborough City Council for a waste recycling plant.

Although the application will be discussed by councillors and will be recommended for approval or refusal, the decision lies with the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (previously the DTi) Mr Williams said: "We've been in discussions about building the park for seven years. It's important to us that we get it right and the people of Peterborough are happy with our plans so we keep taking on board residents' points of view and fine-tuning our application. We hope this time we've got it spot-on."

October 2007 - Peterborough UK Community Website

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