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Green Bank backs £48m bio plant

Funding supports first-of-its-kind 10MW wood gasification project in UK

A consortium including the UK Green Investment Bank is investing £47.8m to build a 10.3MWe recovered wood gasification venture in Tyseley in Birmingham.

As well as GIB, the consortium also comprises Balfour Beatty, Eternity Capital Management Limited, Foresight’s UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments fund, in which GIB is an investor, and GCP Infrastructure Fund with the developer Carbonarius.

Eternity Capital Management are investing £6.2m in equity and Balfour Beatty Investments £12.4m equity in the project. GCP Infrastructure Fund is providing £11m as preferred loans.

The project, to be known as Birmingham Bio Power Ltd, is the first of its kind in the UK, will be built on the Webster and Horsfall site, and is expected to become operational by early 2016.

The plant will convert recovered wood into electricity using gasification technology, where the carbon-based material in the waste is converted into a gas which is used to raise steam that is then passed through a turbine to produce electricity.

Nexterra Systems Corp has been selected by Carbonarius, a joint venture of O-Gen UK and UNA Group, to provide the gasification system.

The equipment meets the criteria of a UK Advanced Conversion Technology qualifying the project for the highest band of Renewable Obligations Certificate.

The project will be supplied with around 70,000 tonnes a year of grade A-C recovered wood secured under a long-term fuel supply contract from JM Envirofuels, a Birmingham based SME.

It is also expected to create more than 100 engineering, construction and project management jobs and 19 full time jobs once operational.

MWH will be responsible for building and operating the plant under the engineer, procure, construct and five-year operations and maintenance contracts.

UK GIB Chief Executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “I’m pleased the Green Investment Bank has been able to support the first gasification plant of its kind in the UK and hope it offers a positive demonstration effect that others will follow.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “It is encouraging to see this innovative new technology coming to the UK for the first time.”

Image: Gas from recovered wood will be used to generate electricity (DECC)

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