The gasification plant – the first of its kind in the UK – will convert residual waste into gas rather than incinerating it and divert thousands of tonnes of rubbish from landfill.

It is expected to generate 2.3MW of electricity, which will power more than 2,000 homes on the island, when it begins operating next year.

Norwegian firm Energos is constructing the facility, which will be similar to six other plants it operates in Norway and Germany, and is investing £4m in the project.

Waste will be converted into gas at the plant using a thermal treatment process. The resulting heat energy is used to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity.

“Sensible recycling is the backbone of any waste strategy, but there will always be some waste that can’t be recovered and this is where gasification technology proves its worth,” said Tony Grimshaw, project director at Energos.

He added: “When this small scale, local facility is operational it will cut out the need to use heavy vehicles to transport floc fuel to the mainland.

“Another benefit of this localised solution is that because the energy will be used on the island, there will be little wastage during the transmission process.”

Bruce Gilmore, general manager of the island’s waste contractor, said: “Waste currently sent to landfill will now be diverted for processing in the new facility.

“This will demonstrate the capability of the technology to divert post-recycling refuse from landfill, therefore extending the life of the landfill site and helping the Isle of Wight Council to meets its Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme targets.”

The Isle of Wight’s waste processing and recycling facility is also being upgraded to process the 60,000 tonnes of waste delivered to the site every year.

The project is part of the Government’s New Technology Demonstrator Programme to promote innovative ways of reducing biodegradable waste and Defra has provided £2.7m of funding.

Kate Martin

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