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Plans for bio-resources to transport fuel plant approved

Words: Huw Morris

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee has unanimously approved plans to build the UK’s  first commercial scale bio-substitute natural gas plant at Peel Environmental’s Protos site near Ellesmere Port.

The plant, which is being developed by Progressive Energy, will generate renewable gas from up to 175,000 tonnes of bio-resources, including unrecyclable wood and refuse-derived fuel (RDF). This gas will be used in the transport sector, generating enough fuel to power up to 1,000 low-carbon HGVs and buses every year.

The development represents an investment of £150 million and will create around 300 jobs at Protos during construction, with 35 full-time permanent, high skilled jobs.

Progressive Energy director Chris Manson-Whitton characterised the approval as a “huge step forward” to providing a reliable and renewable gas for transport fleets across the North West and beyond.

“Decarbonising the transport sector is going to be critical if we’ve any chance of reaching net zero emissions by 2050,” he added. “We’re still hugely reliant on fossil fuels in the sector which, together with heat, accounts for around three quarters of UK energy consumption.”

Construction is due to start next year with production beginning in late 2022. A further eight similar facilities could be built across the UK during the 2020s.

The project is also one of several under the North West’s bid to become the UK’s first low-carbon cluster by 2030. The North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster is being led by the North West Business Leadership Team, with support from Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region mayors and the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.The cluster aims to deliver 33,000 jobs, more than £4 billion investment and save 10 million tonnes of carbon per year.

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