Air Products says revolutionary Billingham factory is on schedule

The Advertiser Series: The Air Products waste-to-energy plant under construction The Air Products waste-to-energy plant under construction

A PIONEERING North-East energy plant will start powering 50,000 homes next year, bosses have confirmed.

Air Products says its advanced gasification plant, in Billingham, near Stockton, is on schedule to begin operations in 2014.

When finished, the plant will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.

It will be the UK's first energy-from-waste power station to use plasma technology, which generates energy by burning domestic and commercial waste destined for landfill.

And the firm, which is creating 50 new jobs, says it has already filled the majority of its posts that include a number of North-East workers.

It said construction of the factory, which is being built on Tees Valley enterprise zone land near the North Tees Chemical Complex, is expected to be finished next summer.

Bosses say it will take care of up to 350,000 tonnes of local waste every year, delivering enough electricity to power about 50,000 homes.

They have plans to build a second plant on nearby land.

The US firm said it expected work to start on schedule, and was still looking to fill remaining job vacancies to drive the development further forward.

A spokesman told The Northern Echo: “The plant is targeted to enter completion in the middle of next year so the construction work is continuing.

“The bulk of the 50 new jobs at the plant have been filled but we are still needing to recruit a few more people.

“We want a graduate control engineer and there are other engineering and technician jobs still available.”

The factory has supported about 700 North-East construction jobs, including a £3m contract for Middlesbrough-based Redhall Engineering to make and install pipework.

Andrew Connolly, Air Products' Tees Valley facility manager, said the plant would play a major role in Teesside industry and the North-East economy.

He said: “You only have to look at how the skyline is changing to see what is happening and what this will mean.

“This is bringing value to the community by hiring people to work at the plant, supporting construction jobs, and providing work through constant maintenance.

“We have brought the team together who will get ready for operation and hope to start commissioning work around springtime.”

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