12 August 2016 by Tom Goulding

UK’s largest autoclave plant to be resurrected

A defunct autoclave plant in Gateshead is to receive a new lease of life from October 2016, following a £2.2 million injection into the facility.

And, the site’s new owner – Catfoss – has also been awarded planning consent to construct two gasification plants on the five-acre site.

One of three autoclaves arriving at the Graphite Resources Park 2009

One of three autoclaves arriving at the Graphite Resources Park 2009

Graphite Resources’ Derwenthaugh EcoParc closed its doors in 2013 with a loss of 70 jobs.

The facility – which was aimed to be the largest steam-based autoclave plant of its kind in the UK – was capable of processing 320,000 tonnes of municipal and commercial solid waste when operations began in 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).


Autoclaving is a process which involves heating the waste at high temperatures via pressurised steam, segregating recyclables and sterilising the waste fraction for use as refuse-derived fuel or biofuel.

The EcoParc is now set to be resurrected, after the site was sold to Humberside-based holding company Catfoss last year by Bilfinger GVA’s Newcastle Industrial Agency on behalf of Graphite Resources. An environmental permit for the site was reissued by the Environment Agency in September 2015.

Catfoss, which holds a number of manufacturing and property development interests, will seek to resume operations and produce a turnover of £10 million per year.


The company’s aims have been made possible via a £2.2 million funding package provided by Leeds-based Access Commercial Finance. The package will be used to refinance the mothballed plant and buy the machinery required.

The plant could be fully operational by October 2016 with around 30 jobs created.

Going forward, Catfoss has also won planning consent to construct two pyrolysis treatment plants at the park – capable of producing up to 12MW of power for the National Grid.


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