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Cumbrian SRF project gets £3.15m boost

Plans for a plant powered by solid recovered fuel (SRF) in Cumbria have been given a major boost from a £3.15m government grant.

Cumbrian paper manufacturer James Cropper has been chosen to receive the cash from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to develop a steam raising plant at Burneside. The plant will use a mixture of SRF produced by waste management firm Shanks from Cumbrian municipal waste, and the company’s paper residues.

Shanks was the first company to gain Environment Agency approval to export SRF produced from treated residual waste, and has been lobbying the government to reclassify SRF as a product rather than a waste so that it can co-fire existing UK power stations.

The grant from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills will be part of a £7m investment in the project which aims to cut James Cropper’s energy costs, CO2 emissions and reduce environmental taxes. The new plant will supplement the company’s gas fired CHP facility.

The company said that SRF, which is approximately 50% biomass in content, is significantly underused because of a lack of appropriate proven technology. It added that the technology could help other energy intensive industries looking to move away from reliance on fossil fuels.

Chairman Mark Cropper said the project, started in 2005, had been hampered by high costs and a lack of suitable technology and suppliers.

“Energy costs are rising and the global competitiveness of our business and other British energy intensive manufacturers is being further impaired by new UK carbon taxation policies,” he said. “Delay and relief of such tax policies are vital to maintain competitive costs, however the transition to new forms of energy is more critical than ever, so the RGF support could not be more welcome.”

Planning permission was granted for the project in 2009.

The steam raising plant is scheduled to be operational by late 2014. James Cropper said the plant would save the company £1m per year by 2015.

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