PLANS have been submitted by utility firm Yorkshire Water to build a £40 million energy and recycling centre converting human waste into electricity.

The electricity will be used to power Brighouse’s sewage treatment plant and feed into the national grid to power homes in Calderdale and Kirklees.

The new technology, known as anaerobic digestion, will also reduce nitric oxide emissions from the site and help improve air quality.

It follows the demolition of the old incinerator on the site off Cooper Bridge Road next to the River Calder, which was damaged during the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

Since then sludge has had to be transported off site to be treated elsewhere.

The plans, which have been submitted to Calderdale Council, detail how the incinerator building and prominent chimney have already been removed and the site is being cleared in preparation for construction of the new facility.

Documents supporting the application state: "The proposed anaerobic digestion plant and associated infrastructure would replace the incinerator, which was damaged during he 2015 boxing day floods.

"This resulted in the facility going out of operation.

"The site provides essential infrastructure which is necessary for the safe and efficient treatment of sewage.

"The proposed development provides the additional benefit of generating electricity to power the facility, with the excess being exported to the grid."

It adds that since the flood damage, the site has been processing sludge in a different way and is having to export "raw cake" to other sites, including Scotland, the south coast and other Yorkshire Water sites.

"This current operation is unsustainable, with significant mile sbeing covered to transport sludge, which could otherwise be processed on the application site," it adds

The new plant would generate 2MW of electricity from biogas.

Yorkshire Water’s communications advisor Mark Allsop said when the project was announced: ‘This scheme supports our commitment to invest in renewable energy and benefit the environment as we look at ways of reducing carbon emissions.

"Anaerobic digestion is a fantastic technology, heating up sludge to produce a bio-gas which is used to generate electricity. The new facility is expected to be ready to open by mid-2021.”

Investment in this type of renewable energy technology has played a leading role in reducing the firm’s carbon footprint, with 18 of its major sewage treatment works each generating electricity from this renewable source.

The new facility at Brighouse will improve the quality of the sludge that is produced, meaning less of it ending up in landfill.