North's largest energy-from-waste facility ready to power ahead
A £107 million "cleaner and greener" energy plant at Belfast's harbour estate could bring around 250 much-needed jobs to the construction sector it was claimed on Wednesday.
What will be the north's largest energy-from-waste facility, providing 14.85 megawatts of energy from household waste, will also provide work for an additional 20 employees once it is up and running.
The financial case for the long-awaited Full Circle 'Generation Energy from Waste' facility, located adjacent to Bombardier's wing facility, has just been completed, paving the way for work proper now to begin on site.
Design and preliminary site activities having already begun and developers are confident the facility, which will have the capacity to process up to 180,000 tonnes of feedstock derived from household waste, will be fully operational by late 2017.
The scheme will incorporate the use of gasification technology - a process that converts any material containing carbon into synthesis gas (syngas) which can then be burned to produce electricity or further processed to manufacture chemicals or fertilisers.
Gasification has been reliably used on a commercial scale worldwide for more than 60 years in the refining, fertilizer, and chemical industries - and for more than 35 years in the electric power industry - but is now being used to convert municipal and hazardous waste into valuable products.
Full Circle Generation Ltd is made up of a consortium of equity investors including RiverRidge Energy Limited, UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB), Equitix and P3P Partners.
KPMG Corporate Finance Belfast were instrumental in structuring the all-equity deal finance arrangement with the 'design, build and operate' contract awarded to French construction group Bouygues Energies and Services.
Managing director of RiverRidge Energy and RiverRidge Recycling Ltd, Brett Ross, described the announcement as "a significant day" for the Northern Irish waste management sector.
"It is also a significant day for the Northern Irish economy as a whole," Mr Ross said.
"The delivery of this critical piece of infrastructure provides a number of stakeholders with a world class facility capable of recovering energy from waste in an environmentally sensitive and acceptable manner, as well as the provision of a meaningful base load of renewable energy for Bombardier."