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Let's Recycle: Three biomass projects take steps forward

24/05/2013

Three planned waste wood burning biomass facilities in England have taken steps forward, with plants in Cheshire and Greater Manchester both receiving planning approval and work starting on a facility in Kent.

Plans were approved for a biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Cheshire – which is being developed jointly by Danish firm Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) and UK logistics company Stobart Group – which will supply enough electricity for around 49,000 homes in the Widnes area.

 

An artist's impression of Peel Energy's proposed Barton biomass energy plant
An artist's impression of Peel Energy's proposed Barton biomass energy plant

Meanwhile, Manchester-based Peel Energy, was granted planning permission by communities secretary Eric Pickles last week (May 16) for its £70 million Barton plant. This followed a nine-day public inquiry on the proposals in November 2012. However, the decision has upset local air quality campaigners and also Trafford council, which originally turned down planning permission for the 20MW plant in 2011.

Construction has also started on a £118 million 23MW biomass facility close to Sittingbourne in Kent, which is being built by MVV Environment Ridham Ltd, an English subsidiary of German firm MVV Energie.

Barton

Planning approval for Peel Energy’s Barton biomass energy plant in Daveyhulme was granted last week (May 16) by the secretary of state for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Greater Manchester will process around 200,000 tonnes of biomass fuel per year, mostly comprised of reclaimed wood, producing 20 MW of energy.

Trafford council – which originally rejected planning consent for the plant in 2011 before the public inquiry into the decision was held in 2012 – said it was “disappointed” with the decision and is taking further advice before deciding on whether to challenge the ruling.

'We are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to taking the project on to the next stage, ultimately delivering renewable energy and jobs for the region'

Jon England, Peel Energy project manager for the Barton plant

The two-year construction phase for the plant is likely to start in 2014 meaning that the plant could be operational by 2016. It was originally expected that the plant would be on line by mid-2014. (see letsrecycle.com story).

Peel Energy project manager, Jon England, said: “We would like to thank both the Secretary of State and the planning inspector for giving the plans a fair hearing. We realise that applications like these are not easy. However, these are exactly the kind of decisions that are required if the UK is to meet its renewable energy targets, reduce reliance on imported energy and avoid valuable resources going into landfill.

“We are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to taking the project on to the next stage, ultimately delivering renewable energy and jobs for the region.”

Widnes

BWSC announced earlier this month (May 7) that it had been granted planning permission by Halton borough council to construct and operate – alongside Stobart Group – the CHP plant in Widnes.

Based at the 3MG Mersey Multimodal Gateway, the plant will have the capacity to process 147,000 tonnes of waste wood per year to generate electricity for local households. The plant will also be capable of burning virgin wood and generating 3.5MW of renewable heat for nearby industry and the Stobart Park business development.

 

An artist's impression of BWSC biomass plant in Widnes, which has been granted planning by Halton council
An artist's impression of BWSC biomass plant in Widnes, which has been granted planning by Halton council

Feedstock for the facility will be sourced locally, according to BWSC, and transported to the site by truck or rail. The feedstock will then be stored in a 6,000 cubic metre indoor storage facility before processing.

Construction of the plant, BWSC’s third biomass facility in the UK, is expected to start in early 2014, and is scheduled to finish in 2016. The firm also operated a plant at Port Talbot plant in South Wales, while it is currently constructing a 38.5MW straw-fired power plant in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

A BWSC spokesman said: “BWSC is very pleased that Halton borough council, the local authority, has positively determined the scheme. BWSC has been working on the development of this project since 2011; obtaining the planning permit is a considerable achievement as it involves the approval from several local authorities and a major step forward in the development of an Independent Power Producer (IPP) project.”

Sittingbourne

Located at Ridham Dock, an industrial port on the river Swale, the 23MW biomass plant in Sittingbourne will process waste wood to generate almost 188 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year and heating energy for nearby industry.

The £118 million plant will have the capacity to process 172,000 tonnes of category B and C old wood waste per year and is due to begin operations in spring 2015.

MVV Environment is also currently in the process of constructing an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Plymouth which will have the capacity to process 245,000 tonnes of household waste from the city, Devon and Torbay to produce electricity and heat.

Paul Carey, managing director of MVV Environment Ridham, said: “Building the power plant in Ridham Dock will enable us to benefit from the attractive conditions on offer in the UK. The plant will have a high energy efficiency rate, absolutely state-of-the-art technology and make a valuable contribution towards ecological energy generation.”

Planning permission for the plant was originally granted to German firm STEAG New Energies in August 2012 (see letsrecycle.com story), but MVV Energie purchased the development from the firm later that year.