(L - R): Vianney Vales, CEO at Wastefront with councillor Graeme Miller.
Matthew Neville

“Game-changing” £100m Sunderland recycling plant to create 100 local skilled jobs

Plans to construct a world-leading recycling plant that will put the North East at the forefront of sustainable tyre recycling have been greenlit.

Wastefront AS, a Norwegian green energy company backed by energy giant Vitol, has been given permission to press ahead with plans to construct the “UK’s greenest tyre recycling plant” at Port of Sunderland, representing the largest ever investment at the North Sea hub.

Construction on the development is expected to begin this year, with company executives confident that the plant will be in commercial operation by 2024, creating around 100 skilled jobs once in full operation.

The plant will use commercially operating technologies to convert end-of-life tyres (ELTs) into useful commodities, including biofuels and carbon black, which can then be reutilised in processes such as alternative fuel or raw materials for the production of new tyres or other products.

The firm’s decision to invest in Port of Sunderland was influenced by co-founder and director, Christian A. Hvamstad, an alumnus of the University of Sunderland.

Christian commented: “We are thrilled to have secured planning approval for this landmark site, which marks a huge step in our efforts to combat the global issue of ELT waste. Our ambition is to create a Green Global Industrial Platform for dealing with waste issues, and a crucial element of sustainable waste handling is to be able to do so locally.

“The UK is a global centre of industry which we’re proud to be part of, while Sunderland is the ideal location for our first plant due to geographical location, access to feedstock, strong local support and Sunderland’s history as an industrial city.”

Since unveiling plans for the recycling plant in August 2020, Wastefront has secured a decisive 10-year supply deal with energy giant Vitol, which will see the world’s largest independent oil trader purchase all of the Sunderland plant’s available liquid hydrocarbons.

Vianney Vales, CEO at Wastefront, added: “We continue to progress as per our plan with the implementation of our game-changing facility in Sunderland.

“This facility is an example of what the industry of the future can be, re-utilizing a material that is currently wasted, used tyres, and converting it fully into valuable products through an exceptionally circular and environmentally-friendly process.

“The approval of our planning application shows the Planning Authority and the Environmental Agency support our approach, and speaks volumes about the quality and maturity of our project development.”

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