Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:16PM - 198 Views

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Air Products of Trexlertown announced Tuesday that it will build the world's biggest advanced gasification plant to convert non-recyclable waste into clean energy.

The plant, near Billingham, Teesside in northeast England, will generate enough electricity for as many as 50,000 homes, according to Air Products. It will be the first facility of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Construction on the plant will start in coming weeks, and operations are scheduled to begin in 2014, Air Products said. The project will create up to 700 construction jobs and more than 50 permanent jobs once operational, helping to revitalize the local economy.

Situated near landfills, the plant is expected to divert up to 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste per year, helping to meet the UK's waste diversion targets.

"Advanced gasification has a key role to play in delivering renewable energy," UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said in the release. "Air Products' announcement reflects the UK's commitment and support for clean energy, combined with our stable and transparent environment for investors."

The plant will use new gasification technology that has the potential to produce a range of useful byproducts, including heat, hydrogen and other chemicals, Air Products said. Eventually, the hydrogen could go toward commercial use, such as fuelling public transportation.

Air Products' plant in Hanover Township employs about 200, making primarily heat exchangers and other equipment used in the manufacture of industrial gases. Worldwide, it has 18,900 employees.

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