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Plans for £150 million bio-resources to transport fuel facility at Protos approved

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Energy Global,

Plans to build the UK's first commercial scale Bio-Substitute Natural Gas (BioSNG) plant at Peel Environmental's - part of Peel L&P - Protos site near Ellesmere Port have been approved unanimously by Cheshire West & Chester Council's planning committee.

The plant, which is being developed by Progressive Energy, will generate renewable gas from up to 175 000 t of bio-resources, including unrecyclable wood and refuse derived fuel (RDF). This gas will be used in the transport sector, generating enough fuel to power up to 1000 low carbon HGVs and buses every year.

The development represents an investment of £150 million and will create around 300 jobs at Protos during construction, with 35 full time permanent, high skilled jobs.

"Decarbonising the transport sector is going to be critical if we've any chance of reaching net zero emissions by 2050," said Chris Manson-Whitton from Progressive Energy. "We're still hugely reliant on fossil fuels in the sector which, together with heat, accounts for around three quarters of UK energy consumption. This decision is a huge step forward to providing a reliable and renewable gas for transport fleets across the North West and beyond."

As well as a transport fuel, BioSNG can also be a replacement for the regular natural gas that is currently supplied to our homes and businesses. BioSNG can be injected into the existing gas network, providing the opportunity for the plant at Protos to export fuel to the wider UK without the need for any road movements.

The plant could also be configured in the future to produce renewable hydrogen, potentially linking into plans to build a hydrogen network in the region as part of the HyNet project with associated deep carbon savings.

Construction is due to start later next year with production commencing in late 2022. It is expected that a further eight similar facilities could be built across the UK during the 2020s.

Protos sits within the Energy Innovation District (EID) which brings together energy users, network owners, innovators and partners working alongside Cheshire & Warrington LEP, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the University of Chester. Being led by the Cheshire Energy Hub, the EID is developing a £300 million project to create a smart local energy system that would see significant energy cost savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This smart grid would automatically prioritise the lowest cost and lowest carbon source of energy for domestic and industrial users from locally generated sources, setting a blueprint for the UK.

The project is also one of many under the North West's bid to become the UK's first low carbon cluster by 2030. The North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster is being led by the North West Business Leadership Team, with support from Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Mayors and the Cheshire & Warrington LEP. In competition with other regions -- such as Humber and Teesside -- the Cluster could deliver 33 000 jobs, over £4 billion of investment and save 10 million tpy of carbon.

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