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UK’s largest waste wood gasifier commences operations

Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG), an independent power producer (IPP) specialising in energy-from-waste (EfW) and biomass, has announced that one of its largest assets in the UK, Ince Bio Power, has become fully operational after successfully completing its testing phase. Located near Ellesmere Port in Ince, Cheshire, the plant uses gasification technology making it the largest plant of its kind currently operating in the UK.

The largest waste wood gasification plant in the UK, the 21.5 MWe Ince Bio Power plant in Ince, Cheshire has begun commercial operations. It is one of Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG’s) first bioenergy investments (photo courtesy BIG).

Located near Ellesmere Port in Ince, Cheshire, the 21.5 MWe BIG-owned facility is the largest biomass power plant of its kind operating in the UK. It uses advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technology – gasification – that turns waste into a combustible gas by heating it in a virtually oxygen-free environment. Energy Works Hull in East Yorkshire and Levenseat in Lanarkshire, currently under construction and owned by BIG, employ the same ATT technology.

To be officially opened in summer 2019, Ince Bio Power uses waste wood to generate low carbon energy. The plant will process up to 170 000 tonnes of waste wood annually delivering a net reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worth around 65 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum. Around 150 jobs were created during the construction of Ince Bio Power. The plant will be operated and managed by about 25 full-time employees.

We are delighted that Ince is now fully operational and will continue to generate clean, base-load, renewable energy for the people of the north-west of England. This is not only a significant milestone for Ince but also an important moment in the development of gasification facilities in the UK, which are a sustainable alternative to incineration. I would like to thank all our contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and partners for their contribution and support throughout this process, said Neil Bennett, Chief Commercial Officer, BIG.

Part of Protos energy hub

The facility is located within Protos, a GBP700 million(≈ EUR 795.2 million) energy hub owned by Peel Environmental, part of Peel L&P, an infrastructure developer in the waste, mineral, and environmental technology sectors. The Protos site is expected to create over 3 000 jobs and provide a GBP350 million (≈ EUR 397.6 million) boost to the economy.

BIG also controls a co-located waste wood processing facility at Protos with its fuel supply partner. Together with BIG’s waste wood plant at nearby Widnes, these facilities dominate the regional demand for waste wood fuels.

This is a significant step forward for Protos and the creation of a strategic and self-sustaining energy hub in the North West. Facilities such as this are vitally important in the transition to a low carbon economy and meeting the Government’s clean growth agenda. The supply of a local, sustainable and secure source of energy only goes to reaffirm this region’s position as the industrial powerhouse of the UK, making it even more attractive to businesses both at home and overseas, said Jane Gaston, Development Director at Peel Environmental, part of Peel L&P.

In addition to Ince Bio Power, BIG also owns and operates operational energy from waste wood biomass plants in the UK. Other assets in BIG’s portfolio in the late stages of construction and development include Hull and Hoddesdon.

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