New UK household waste bio plant hailed as 'world first'

The proposed new plant in Northwich, Cheshire.

The world’s first bio plant for handling unsorted household waste is to be built in Northwich, Cheshire by DONG Energy, following the granting of planning permission for the site.

It will be the first bio plant in the world to handle unsorted household waste, without prior treatment, using enzymes. The ground-breaking new technology, called REnescience, has been developed by DONG Energy and tested at a demonstration plant in Copenhagen since 2009. 

The company says the building of the plant will mean that a much larger proportion of UK household waste can be recycled and converted into biogas energy. DONG Energy will finance, build and operate the plant, which will be operational in 2017.

Around 150 people will be involved during the main construction, with an average of 75 at any given time. The plant will also provide work for 24 full-time local employees who will operate it.

Brent Cheshire, DONG Energy's UK chairman, said: "It's fantastic to see the world's first bio plant of this type being built in Northwich, underlining the UK is once again leading the way in renewable energy. REnescience generates as many resources as possible from everyday household waste. This new bio plant will see us handling waste in a much smarter way. This new plant also highlights our commitment to investing in the Northern Powerhouse.”

The Northwich plant will be able to receive unsorted household waste, which – through enzyme treatment – will be converted into biogas as well as recyclable plastics and metals. The biogas is converted to green power via gas engines. The plant will have an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste, which is equivalent to the waste from almost 110,000 UK households. The waste will be supplied by the UK waste management company FCC Environment, which already collects household waste in the Northwich region. 

DONG Energy expects construction work to begin in February 2016, with the plant being commissioned in early 2017.

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