A NEW biodiesel production plant could be built in North Tyneside if a multi-million pound scheme from a Yorkshire developer goes ahead.
A company called Goes on Green has been formed by entrepreneur Tariq Malik and his business partner Giuseppe Simeone, to build the first biodiesel plant north of the Tees on land close to the Port of Tyne’s ferry terminal and the Royal Quays shopping centre.
The two men, who have backing from venture capitalists, have already submitted a ‘scoping’ proposal to North Tyneside Council to outline their plans but a full planning application has not yet been submitted.
The scheme has been put forward for the North Shields site as the land stands close to the Simon Storage fuel tank facility which would be contracted to store the fuel once it is manufactured.
Goes on Green is renting land on Hayhole Road in North Shields from Simon Storage to try to bring its development to fruition. The company intends building just one production plant in its first phase of development, which would be able to produce 34,000 cubic metres of biodiesel fuel per year.
Once that is established, the company would then aim to build a further five similar units. The whole development would require around 25 to 30 staff to operate, though up to 150 workers would be required during construction.
Goes on Green (GOG) is working with the PB Power division of Parsons Brinckerhoff at Newcastle Business Park to draw up its plans for the North Tyneside site, which it says could be commissioned in just eight months if planning consent is granted.
Mr Malik, based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said: “We are proposing to build a small biodiesel refinery to allow us to make biodiesel to meet the specification to be suitable for use in cars. There is a mandate for the UK to have a 5% blend of renewable fuel and we would be helping to contribute to that 5%. This is a really, really good opportunity, with market demand, and that will increase. We hope to be part of that process. There needs to be quite a lot of activity for the UK to make its contribution to renewable fuel.”
Mr Malik is an entrepreneur who has worked in several industries, but does not have a long history in the biofuels business. However Mr Simeone is a chemical engineer with some 35 years of experience.
Mr Malik said: “I have worked on another project in the oil and gas industry, and felt this would be a great opportunity. I worked as a consultant for a company looking to develop assets in west Africa.
“There is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and other business people to get involved in this sector.”
GOG aims to use bi-products from the food and agricultural industries to make biodiesel, in what it says is a “unique process architecture” which will differentiate the company from its competitors.
Mr Malik said: “We have developed an approach using material nobody else needs. We may import vegetable oil or waste materials, or acquire them from the UK itself. There are already farmers developing vegetable oil for the marketplace.”
Mr Malik and Mr Simeone have now put three years of work into their plans for the North Shields plant, and they say it will have minimal impact on the local environment.
Mr Malik said: “It will be very low impact. One of the things we have looked for is technology that is low in energy consumption and is cost effective to operate. We are using the greenest possible technology.”