SSE, a British electric utility company, has announced a partnership with Wheelabrator Technologies, a waste management firm based in the United Kingdom. Together, the two companies will be building a waste-to-energy power plant worth $476 million. The plant will take root in West Yorkshire, UK, and will begin operating in early 2015, according to Wheelabrator. Both companies claim that the project will have a profound impact on the local economy and will generate hundred of throughout its construction period.
The facility will collect waste from the nearby Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils. Electricity will be generated through mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion processes. The electricity generated at the facility will be sold by SSE to both the UK government and to residents. Little information is available regarding the type of energy systems that will be used at the facility, but speculation suggests that fuel cells will be involved.
Fuel cells have been generating buzz as waste-to-energy systems recently. Microbial fuel cells, in particular, have shown prowess in this sector of alternative energy. These fuel cells contain bacteria that feed off organic waste and produce hydrogen or methane gas, which is used by the fuel cell to generate electricity. If the facility does incorporate fuel cells, it will be one of the largest hydrogen energy projects to take root in the United Kingdom to date.