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Waste's the key to new source of gas; sponsored by Environment Agency Things you throw away help make power for homes in the region, as CHRIS TAYLOR explains SITA svez.

Byline: CHRIS TAYLOR

GAS from landfill sites in the North East produces enough electricity to heat and light a town the size of Chester-le-Street every year.

Landfill gas recovered from SITA UK's landfill sites produces enough renewable energy for more than 25,000 homes.

Restored landfill sites like the one at Kibblesworth in Gateshead, which has now been redeveloped into Bowes Valley Nature Reserve, are becoming a common sight across the North East.

SITA UK collects landfill gas and uses it to generate electricity at five landfill sites across the region - Brenkley, Burnhills, Ellington, Kibblesworth and Seghill.

Together, they support a landfill gas generation infrastructure with a capacity of over 12 megawatts, which generated in excess of 82,000 megawatt hours during 2007.

John Grainger, SITA UK's general manager for the North East, said: "We are all working hard to reduce, reuse and recycle as much waste as possible before we turn to disposal methods like landfill.

"However, landfill will still have a place in the future because we simply can't reuse or recycle everything."

He added: "Landfill gas is a great example of how we can generate renewable energy from the waste we all throw away.

"We can also use waste to generate energy in other ways, such as energy from waste plants and through anaerobic digestion, where biodegradable waste is broken down and turned into a compost material, producing methane gas as part of the process."

Tim Otley, general manager for SITA Power, said: "Well-managed landfill sites produce gas, which can be used as a fuel to produce electricity and fed into the local electricity distribution network.

"We use specialist equipment to extract the landfill gas and have comprehensive 24-hour monitoring systems to ensure the waste below the ground and the landfill gas created is carefully monitored and controlled."

Innovative technology is used to convert the gas generated within the landfill sites into electricity.

Landfill gas is extracted from the landfill site under a slight vacuum and delivered to specialised gas engines.

These engines turn a generator which creates electricity at 415 volts.

This then passes through a transformer, which steps up the voltage to 11,000 or 33,000 volts, enabling it to be directed into the local distribution network.

SITA UK works with a wide range of local authorities and businesses throughout the North East to help them maximize their recycling and minimize the amount of waste that they create.

The company recently became Northumberland County Council's 28-year PFI partner to manage all of the county's waste until 2035 and is investing millions of pounds in new recycling facilities across the region.

Across the UK the company serves over 12m people and more than 31,000 businesses with a range of recycling and waste management services.

It employs more than 5,000 staff and has an annual turnover in excess of pounds 600m.

The company handles more than 7.5 million tonnes of domestic, commercial and industrial waste through a network of recycling, composting, energy-from-waste and landfill facilities.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2008
Words:512
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