Planning approval has been given for a major £120m energy-from-waste (EfW) ‘park’ in Wales, with construction expected to begin mid-2011 and the site completed by 2013.
Welsh company Enviroparks is building the Hirwaun energy park in the Heads of the Valleys region, and expects it to be “one of the most advanced recycling operations in the UK”. The facility, which will be able to take up to 240,000 tonnes of waste a year from the region, will include a fuel preparation area, advanced anaerobic digestion and advanced thermal treatment, designed to produce maximum energy with minimum residual waste and minimal environmental impact.
It is based on the business model of bringing in non-hazardous waste from local sources, removing recyclates, extracting biofuels and either producing electricity for use by businesses on-site or selling it on to the National Grid.
Enviroparks director David Williams said: “We have worked closely with the two planning authorities, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, to get approval for what is a complex project. By integrating the best available technologies, we are able to extract value and create maximum energy with minimum waste and environmental impact.
“Seeing this come to fruition is an exciting time for us, and a defining moment in the evolution of EfW.”
The company is now lining up major high-energy users to set up on the park, attracted by savings of as much as 20% on their energy bills. People in the communities of Rhigos, Hirwaun and Penderyn are also set to benefit from a fund that Enviroparks will pay into for the next 10 years to improve energy efficiency in the area through insulation and double glazing, and to enhance biodiversity in the natural environment.