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Biomass future burning just around the corner

The amount of biomass used in the UK is expected to rise to 3 million tonnes in the next five years, from its current level of 330,000 tonnes according to industry experts. And a high proportion of this will be recycled wood.

Next year sees the opening of the UK’s first purpose-built wood burning biomass power station in Teeside - Wilton 10. And alongside it will be a new wood recycling business, UK Wood Recycling (UKWR), set up by Manchester-based family wood recycling company, Hadfield.

UKWR will supply 80,000 tonnes of wood chip to the Wilton 10 plant — which will take a recycled content of about 40%. In addition to providing wood chip to power Wilton 10, UKWR will also turn its wood waste into products such as horse and poultry bedding.

With only 1.5 million tonnes of the 10 million tonnes of wood waste produced in the country each year being recycled, UKWR commercial director Stuart Howarth said: “Why bury it when you can utilise it as fuel?”

He explained that UKWR and Wilton 10 will provide a long-term, sustainable outlet for local authorities and other businesses with waste wood.

The Wilton 10 plant, being constructed and operated by SembCorp Utilities UK, will generate 30 MW of electricity — enough to supply about 30,000 homes. And Howarth estimates 30 similar plants could easily be accommodated in the UK, providing a substantial amount of energy.

Other biomass plants are in the pipeline including the £90 million E.ON biomass power station in Lockerbie, Scotland, where construction started early this year.

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