Sheffield could have the first forge in the country powered by renewable energy created on the same site, under plans for a £36m ‘sustainable industries park’.
Abbey Forged Products has submitted plans for a new press building on a site off Claywheels Lane which could also include a £10m biomass power station and a £10m food digestion plant run by other firms.
The hope is they would provide 95 per cent of the power for the new forge – and at a cheaper rate.
The project, believed to be the first in the country, forms the core of a development set to include six sustainable sector companies, creating 72 jobs and safeguard 32 more.
Beeley Wood Sustainable Industries Park is on a 37-acre brownfield site near Wadsley Bridge which has been derelict for 20 years.
Mark Leivers, agent for landowner AMG Investments, said: “It’s a unique project that creates jobs through sustainable development and encourages metalworking in Sheffield. What could be better than that?”
Sheffield City Council has applied for a £1.5m grant to help improve roads, clean up the site and install services such as electricity and gas.
The scheme could put Sheffield in the vanguard of renewable energy for business.
Sheffield company AMG Investments wants to devote the big brownfield plot to firms specialising in recycling, recovering and re-using other people’s waste.
The ‘closed loop’ of power generation and consumption is believed to be unique in South Yorkshire – and possibly the country – and could create a blueprint for the sustainable industries.
Abbey Forged Products bought eight acres from AMG two years ago. It has submitted plans for a new forge and press building set to create 35 jobs.
RAW Energy has committed to building a £10m ‘anaerobic digestion’ plant – which makes power from rotting waste food. A third company, Earthworm, is close to agreeing a £10m biomass power station burning waste wood.
Mr Leivers said: “It’s easy to generate heat and power but it’s really difficult to harness it. Here, we’ve got the opportunity to create a ‘closed loop’ to assist a local business from a sustainable development. It’s really neat and a first for Sheffield.
“Abbey Forged will probably take all that we can produce 95 per cent of the time. It’s sustainably sourced and cheaper.”
AMG has also set aside 10 acres for other firms in the sustainable sector. Two recycling companies already operate on the site.
Waste Recycling and Destruction specialises in food and packaging recycling. Ballast Phoenix takes ash from the Veolia incinerator at Bernard Road. It removes the metals and sells them, while the ash is used as an aggregate in cement used for construction and road surfacing.
The site was last used by a firm which used bitumen and graphite to make electrodes for arc furnaces. It moved out 20 years ago, although four tall chimneys and some buildings remain.
But there is no gas or electricity and the three firms on the site all use generators.
Now, Sheffield City Council is applying for £1.5m from the Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund to install services, improve access and clean up the site. The chimneys are also set to come down.