The Environment Agency has awarded an environmental permit to Warrington-based Energos to operate a new 9MW facility at Knowsley Industrial Park.
Steve Molyneux, environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: "We've carried out a thorough assessment of the application and consulted widely on the details. We've sought comments from other organisations, including Knowsley Council, Knowsley NHS, the Health Protection Agency and local people. The Environment Agency is confident that the proposed energy from waste facility will not harm human health or the environment."
Nick Dawber, managing director of Energos, said: "This is an environmentally responsible, community-sized energy-from-waste solution that will ensure the diversion of biodegradable material from landfill. Our facilities generate renewable energy and displace the use of fossil fuels."
The first phase of work on the facility has been completed and the second phase of work is expected to start in 2013. The first phase was built by contractor Bentry, based in Frodsham. The contractor for the second phase has not been named but is likely to be drawn from Energos' existing panel of suppliers.
The project does not have finance in place yet. However, Dawber added. "Despite the difficulties in the financial markets, we are making good progress in securing finance for this £60m project."
The scheme will use an advanced conversion technology, which is a best practice clean technology. Rather than burning non-recyclable waste, it converts it into a gas via a rigorously controlled two-stage thermal treatment process – using the heat of partial combustion. The gas is then fully combusted to generate heat, which is used to produce steam and electricity.
The combined heat and power process will generate affordable low-carbon heat for use by neighbouring businesses, as well as electricity.
The 96,000 tonne-a-year Knowsley Energy Recovery Facility has also been selected by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority to manage short-term treatment of residual, non-recyclable waste, helping to divert it from landfill.
The facility could be completed by 2015.
RPS Group advises Energos.