A REVOLUTIONARY first-of-its-kind eco-friendly energy plant is being built in Swindon - and its technology could be a world-leader.

In total, £10 million has been pledged by managers Advanced Biofuels Solutions Ltd to complete the construction of the advanced biofuels facility on the South Marston Industrial Estate, which will convert waste into grid-quality natural gas.

Around 100 people will work on the plant’s construction and 24 highly-skilled engineers will be employed once it’s ready to open in the latter half of 2020.

ABSL CEO Andy Cornell said: “The plant will demonstrate that this new technology works reliably and establish Swindon at the heart of the low-carbon economy.

“If this works well, it will create a template for more plants around the country and more opportunities for low-carbon tech that could also be used for making aviation fuel and hydrogen.”

Work on the facility began in 2015 but stalled for 14 months after former developer Go Green Fuels went into administration.

ABSL rescued the plant and is overseeing the rest of its construction with support from the Department for Transport and gas distribution network owner Cadent.

MORE: Bumpy history of biofuel plant whose original owner went into administration

The plant will convert 8,000 tonnes per year of household waste into 2.2 million cubic metres of natural gas – enough to heat 1,800 homes or fuel 75 HGVs.

Waste collected from Swindon homes will be shredded and the recyclable material will be removed. Instead of going to landfill or being incinerated, this prepared waste will be brought to the plant where ABSL’s groundbreaking technology will convert it into natural gas and carbon dioxide.

The natural gas will then be injected into the grid and the carbon dioxide will be liquefied and used by industry. ABSL believes that the plant will act as a template for larger scale plants in the UK and around the world.

Julian Jones from Swindon Climate Action Network said: “Gasification of residual waste, after recyclable material has been separated off, may be a good solution compared to burning it. However, it all depends on the process efficiency that can be achieved and the other waste products produced. I look forward to more information about this plant.”

Cadent future networks manager Lorna Millington said: “We are pleased that this plant will be completed and bring another source of low carbon energy onto the gas grid for customers.

“With the completion of the plant, it will demonstrate how gas emissions are being reduced and how renewable gas can help us on the pathway to zero emissions.”