Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

An 8m plan to turn Swindon's waste into electricity

A bulldozer working at a landfill site
Swindon's ambition is to stop sending waste to landfill

An £8m waste converter could be on its way to Swindon to turn rubbish into energy.

Waste that cannot be recycled would be heated to produce clean hydrogen which would then be burned to make electricity.

The electricity, fed to the National Grid, would be enough to power between 3,000 and 6,000 homes.

If the idea is approved, the plant will be at the household recycling centre on the Cheney Manor industrial estate.

Richard Fisher, head of waste management at Swindon Borough Council, said: "This will solve 60% of our landfill problems if it goes ahead."

Slow cooking

Mr Fisher said the waste would be heated to between 300 and 800C (572 and 1,472F).

"By heating the waste at a lower temperature than we would for incineration it is like slow cooking in a household oven.

Our ambition for Swindon is to stop waste going to landfill. If this scheme is approved... it will take us very close to our target
Richard Fisher, Swindon Borough Council

"It produces really good gas that we can convert to electricity and put in the National Grid.

"The machine would produce enough electricity for between 3,000 and 6,000 homes.

"The charcoal that is left is rich in carbon and so is also of value. That in turn could be used to produce energy.

"Our ambition for Swindon is to stop waste going to landfill. If this scheme is approved by the council it will take us very close to our target."

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