Construction starts at Protos energy-from-waste plant

A consortium, comprising specialist investor Green Investment Group and waste management companies Covanta and Biffa, is building the facility at the Ellesmere Port energy hub in Cheshire.

The energy-from-waste plant is intended to divert up to 400,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill or export each year and generate up to 49 megawatts of low carbon electricity, the consortium said.

It will be constructed at the Protos energy park owned by Peel L&P Environmental, part of landowner the Peel Group. Cheshire West & Chester Council granted planning consent for an energy-to-waste plant at Protos in 2016, although the specific designs, funding and operational details have taken longer to bring forward.

Under the plans, Covanta is to operate the facility and Biffa will provide the majority of the non-recyclable waste that will power the facility – which is expected to take around three years to build.

The main contractor is a joint venture between infrastructure construction firms Mytilineos and Standardkessel Baumgarte.

Protos is one of several key projects underpinning Net Zero North West, a strategy to develop the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster, at Ellesmere Port, by 2030.

Jayne Hennessy, development manager at Peel L&P Environmental, said: “This is a great next step for Protos and the North West’s ambitions to become the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster.

“Once operational, the Energy Recovery Facility will generate enough low-carbon energy to power around 90,000 homes, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while diverting waste from landfill.”

Tony McShane, Covanta’s vice-president of UK Construction, added: “Once the Protos Energy Recovery Facility enters operations in 2024, it will be a major addition to Peel L&Ps energy and resource hub site.

“The new facility will not only create future employment opportunities, it will also help the North West region maximise the beneficial use of non-recyclable resources.”

Protos Energy Recovery Facility Artist Impression 1 Nov 2020

An artist’s impression of the Energy Recovery Facility

Peel L&P Environmental last month published its masterplan for the 30-acre Plastic Park at Protos – a development intended to bring together different types of plastic processing at one site to get the most value and sustainability from plastic waste.

The components of the masterplan include:

  • A Materials Recycling facility (MRF) which will take dry mixed recyclables and separate recyclates such as card, paper, glass and cans and plastics
  • A Plastic Recycling Facility (PRF) which takes the plastic from the MRF, and plastic delivered directly to Protos, and separates out different types of plastic
  • PET recycling facility – to be developed by Enviroo with a planning application expected later this year. The facility will take PET (the main material used for food and beverage packaging, such as plastic bottles) and turn it into polymers that can be used to make new food packaging products
  • Waste plastic-to-hydrogen facility – consented earlier this year and already under development. The facility will use pioneering DMG technology developed by Powerhouse Energy Group to create hydrogen and electricity from non-recyclable waste
  • Chemical Recycling Facilities, which can break plastic down into its component parts to create new products or fuels



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