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GIB invests in first waste wood gasification plant

A consortium of investors led by the Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced an investment of £47.8m in a waste wood gasification venture in Birmingham.

The GIB said that the plant, to be called Birmingham Bio Power, will be the first project to use gasification to convert waste wood in electricity. The technology was developed in North America.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “It is encouraging to see this innovative new technology coming to the UK for the first time. This investment will create green jobs and help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and converting wood diverted from landfill into cleaner energy for thousands of homes and businesses.

“It is also good news for the local area helping to build a stronger economy by creating over 100 private sector jobs in Birmingham.”

The consortium comprises the GIB, Balfour Beatty, Eternity Capital, Foresight’s UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments (UKWREI) fund and GCP Infrastructure Fund and developer Carbonarius.

The contract for the design, construction and maintenance of the plant has been awarded to wet infrastructure firm MWH Treatment.

The10.3MWe plant will be built on the Webster and Horsfall site, in Tyseley. It is expected to process up to 67,000 tonnes of recovered wood per year and produce enough electricity to supply the equivalent of more than 17,000 homes.

Alon Laniado, Investment Director at Eternity Capital:

Alon Laniado

This project required bringing together various players across the sector to overcome the typical funding barriers in energy from waste projects. This includes securing adequate supply contracts for dealing with merchant waste, agreeing robust construction and operations contracts, and identifying innovative yet sufficiently proven technologies.

Eternity has done its first investment in biomass, which brings a unique advance treatment technology to treat waste wood to the UK for the first time.

This is one of the few early projects at this scale that shows that it is possible [for investors] to take merchant risk.


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