A leading manufacturing company in Northern Ireland is set to generate its own electricity after a Stormont minister approved planning for an £85 million plant which will convert industrial waste into energy.
Bombardier Aerospace is building the Energy from Waste (EfW) gasification plant beside its wing construction factory in Belfast’s Harbour Estate.
The Canadian firm will use the facility to convert 120,000 tonnes of otherwise non-recyclable waste into electricity and heat each year.
The commercial and industrial waste used will be collected from licensed waste sites across Belfast. It would have otherwise been destined for landfill.
The gasification process heats the waste to produce a synthetic gas fuel, which in turn is used to produce steam to generate electricity.
The plant will create 20 permanent jobs when running and will sustain 130 construction jobs in the build phase.
Environment minister Mark H Durkan, who makes planning decisions on such large scale applications, said having a source of sustainable energy would give Bombardier an added edge in what was a fiercely competitive industry.
He also claimed there were significant environmental benefits, as it would reduce the volume of waste in Belfast going to landfill.
“This is good news for Bombardier’s workforce of 6,000,” he said.
“The new plant will help Bombardier to reduce electricity costs, maintain its competitiveness within international markets and safeguard employment.
“The facility will also provide a boost for the local economy creating up to 130 construction jobs in the short term and around 20 permanent skilled jobs once completed.
“While I am keen to increase the amount of waste which is recycled, there is still a need for facilities to deal with waste that is not recyclable.
“I recognise the need for Energy from Waste opportunities and of alternative, more environmentally sustainable energy plans. This facility will draw value from waste which cannot be recycled, preventing it going to landfill and instead will use it to generate energy.
“This proposal is a win for the environment and a win for the economy and achieves the right balance in planning terms.
The minister added: “My aim as environment minister is to build a better environment and a stronger economy. This decision - an important boost for one of our leading businesses - will help do that.”