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£100m plant which converts food waste into chemicals to be built

A £100m plant which converts food waste into industrial chemicals could be built in Teesside.

The company with the technology, Solvert, will use an advanced biological fermentation process to produce renewable n-butanol, acetone, hydrogen and electricity from wet biodegradable waste. It can use the feedstock other waste to energy plants cannot.

Solvert is looking at four possible sites for the plant, which include the Impetus Reclamation Site at North Tees, Tata Steel, Wilton and the former ICI site at Billingham.

Chief executive Kris Wadrop said: “The current drive within the UK is to divert waste away from landfill sites into more productive uses – such as feedstocks for other processes.

“Organic waste, such as spoilage from supermarkets or the leftover food from our kitchens at home and in restaurants, holds immense potential for conversion into valuable chemicals to replace those produced from crude oil.”

Currently, the industrial chemicals that could be produced by this process come from petrochemical sources and there are no UK producers.

A team of experts is leading the project, which includes Veolia Environmental managing director of technical services Keith Riley, as Solvert’s chairman. 

Solvert has, so far, secured £200,000 of funding to deliver phase one of the business plan. Fund-raising to deliver phase two is already underway.


Photo: (l-r) Kris Wadrop and Stephen Price from North Start Equity Investments, which has provided support.

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