Changes at SITA will be operational by 2013
Millions of pounds of investment is planned for new facilities on Teesside that would generate electricity from household waste.
Teesside has had a waste-to-energy plant at Haverton Hill for many years.
Increasing volatility of the costs of traditional fuels, combined with CO2 reduction targets, have prompted plans for more sophisticated facilities.
In the coming years, Teesside could be generating power from waste collected from across the North East.
The waste management company SITA, which already runs the Haverton Hill waste-to-energy plant on Teesside, won a contract in September 2010 to burn rubbish from Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland and use it to generate power.
The plant runs along traditional lines, burning the waste at temperatures in excess of 1200oC, which is used to turn water into steam and power turbines in the same way as a conventional power station.
The company says the new contract will pave the way for a further expansion of the site.
Planning permission is being sought by company Air Products for a new facility near the North Tees Chemical Complex that could produce electricity for up to 50,000 homes by processing waste from across the region.
The facility could process between 300,000-350,000 tonnes of waste per year, much of which would otherwise have been destined for landfill.
The new plant wouldn't burn the waste in a traditional way. By burning it instead in an enclosed gasifier at very high temperatures, the waste produces a gas, called syngas.
The syngas can then be used to power a gas turbine to generate electricity.
The company says that burning the waste this way reduces emissions and the solid slag left behind can be used as a foundation for road building and construction.