Waste management firm Shanks seeks to build a food recycling plant in a former South Wales coal mining town, which could produce green energy for at least 4000 homes.

Shanks yesterday confirmed it had applied for planning permission to Torfaen County Borough Council to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at New Inn, the site of a former incinerator in Pontypool, reports Business Green.

If approved, the plant could be operational by early 2014 and would be able to process 90,000 tonnes of food waste a year from local households and businesses, utilising three combined heat and power units, each with 1.2MW of capacity.

Shanks said the plant was expected to produce around 26,500 MWh of excess electricity per year, which will be exported to the National Grid, earning the company two tradable Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) for each MWh under the government’s renewable energy subsidy scheme.

Under the government’s current ROC banding review, AD plants completed in 2015/16 would receive 1.9 ROCs/MWh and those completed in 2016/17 would get 1.8 ROCs.

A spokeswoman for Shanks told BusinessGreen the plant would also produce 31,000MWh of waste heat per year from the combustion of biogas, some of which would power the anaerobic digestion tanks

She said Shanks would then try to partner with a local business that wanted to purchase any of the excess heat.

The company said the decision was driven in part by the Welsh government’s recent commitment to recycle 70 per cent of all waste by 2025, which will ensure all food waste is collected separately from other municipal waste.

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