A WASTE-TO-ENERGY scheme that could power 50,000 homes has moved a step closer after planners gave it the go-ahead.
US industrial gases giant Air Products unveiled plans last year for the 49mw facility next to the North Tees Chemical Complex in Billingham which would be capable of generating electricity for up to 50,000 homes in the North East.
The company said its plans would mean that it would create 500-700 jobs during a three-year construction period and up to 50 permanent jobs.
Now planners at Stockton Council have given the scheme the go-ahead and construction work is expected to start in the first half of next year.
The company has now opened talks with potential partners on the scheme, including local firms that could use electricity from the plant to power their operations.
But it still needs rubber-stamping by the Environment Agency before it goes ahead.
Ian Williamson, European hydrogen and bioenergy director at Air Products, said: The UK is seeking more sustainable ways to manage and dispose of its waste, and is looking to diversify its sources of electricity generation. Our technology is able to deliver on both counts.
Under the plans, the Billingham plant will convert household and commercial waste into electricity.
Advanced gasification technology will convert feedstocks such as non-recyclable waste into an energy-rich gas stream product, which can be used to generate renewable power, hydrogen or bio-fuels.
The Billingham site, owned by Teesside-based Impetus Reclamation, has been renamed the New Energy and Technology Business Park and will focus on energy-efficient production facilities and the conversion of waste to energy, waste to fuels and other related products.