Back to newsroom GIB invests in Birmingham biomass plant



By Michael Holder

A £47.8 million waste wood biomass plant is set to be built in Birmingham after the Green Investment Bank today (December 12) announced that it has invested £12 million in the facility.

And, it was also revealed today that engineering firm MWH Treatment has secured the contract to design, build and operate the facility from the developer, Carbonarius.


The Birmingham biomass plant will take 67,000 tonnes of waste wood per year
The Birmingham biomass plant will take 67,000 tonnes of waste wood per year

Work on preparing the site in Tyseley to construct the 10.3MW plant will begin ‘immediately’, according to MWH, before it becomes operational in early 2016. It will produce enough electricity to supply 17,000 homes.

The facility – partly funded by the Green Investment Bank – will be supplied with 67,000 tonnes of A, B and C grade waste wood per year under a ‘long term sustainable contract’ with local recycled wood pellet provider JM EnviroFuels Ltd.

It will generate power through the gasification of the waste wood, which is then combusted to create steam. The steam then drives a turbine unit to generate electricity for the national grid. The gasification technology is provided by Canadian firm Nexterra Systems.

Over the plant’s 20-year lifespan, it is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by around 2.1 million tonnes and save 1.3 million tonnes of waste wood from landfill. Furthermore, it is estimated that the plant will save around 107,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. 
More than 100 construction jobs are expected to be created through the project, with 19 full-time jobs needed once the plant is operational.

Business secretary

'It is encouraging to see this innovative new technology coming to the UK for the first time.'

Vince Cable, business secretary

Commenting on the proposed facility, business secretary Vince Cable, said: “It is encouraging to see this innovative new technology coming to the UK for the first time. This investment will create green jobs and help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and converting wood diverted from landfill into cleaner energy for thousands of homes and businesses. It is also good news for the local area helping to build a stronger economy by creating over 100 private sector jobs in Birmingham."

MWH Treatment, part of MWH Global, secured the Engineer, Procure and Construct (EPC) contract for the facility from developer Carbonarius – a joint venture between biomass technology company O-Gen UK and property and environmental firm UNA Group.

Ian Miller, energy-from-waste (EfW) operations director at MWH Treatment, said: “We are delighted to have secured this exciting opportunity to deliver and run this project – one which really makes a difference in terms of renewable technologies. I am especially pleased that our core engineering and construction expertise in design and build as well as our operational and maintenance capability is being fully utilised, creating real value for all parties involved.”


The investment consortium financing the power plant compromises of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), Gravis Capital Partners (GCP), Balfour Beatty Plc, Eternity Capital Management and Foresight Group’s UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments (UKWREI) fund.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of UK Green Investment Bank – which is investing £12 million through a preferred loan – said: “As the UK works towards its targets to generate more power from green sources, it’s important that we bring on new technologies. I’m pleased the Green Investment Bank has been able to support the UK’s first bio-energy plant and hope it offers a positive demonstration effect that others will follow.”

The UKWREI is investing a further £6.2 million in equity, while Eternity Capital Management are also investing  £6.2 million in equity and Balfour Beatty Investments are providing the remaining £12.4 million of equity investment.

Preferred loans of £11 million in the project is being provided by the GCP Infrastructure Fund.