Cheshire Biomass Plant Begins Operations

The largest waste wood gasification plant in the UK has begun operating in Cheshire.

The new facility, Ince Bio Power, will create energy by using advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technology to turn waste wood into gas. This gasification method is seen as a greener alternative to traditional incineration and creates the flammable gas by heating waste wood in a ‘virtually oxygen-free environment’.

According to the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, who own Ince Bio Power, the new plant will be able to process up to 170,000 tonnes of waste wood from the north west of England each year. This will in turn produce up to 21.5MW of electricity, which could power an extra 40,000 homes in the country.

Helping a government drive to reduce carbon emissions in the UK, it is estimated that the new plant will contribute by cutting up to 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This would have the same effect as banning over 40,000 cars from driving on British roads.

“We are delighted that Ince is now fully operational and will continue to generate clean, baseload, renewable energy for the people of the north west of England,” said Neil Bennett, chief commercial officer at BIG. “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.

“With several other assets nearing completion of commissioning, BIG is well on the way to being able to deliver our wider strategy of generating more than 200MW of low carbon renewable energy each year from waste and biomass. This will sustainably support the UK’s increasingly electricity-intensive economy and help generate employment and economic development across the UK.”

Ince Bio Power was built in the Protos site, a £700 million energy centre owned by Peel Environmental, located near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. The site, which is made up of several energy production facilities, will create over 3,000 jobs in the local area and inject £350 million into the UK economy, according to Peel Environmental. Ince Bio Power will be operated by around 25 full-time employees, while its construction created around 150 jobs.

“This is a significant step forward for Protos and the creation of a strategic and self-sustaining energy hub in the north west,” said Jane Gaston, development director at Peel Environmental. “Facilities such as this are vitally important to 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.”

The ATT technology used in the gasification process at Ince Bio Power will also be used to create energy in two other plants in the UK – Energy Works in Hull, East Yorkshire, and Levenseat in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

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