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17 Jul 2009 05:07:02

295MW biomass power plant receives UK government support



295MW biomass power plant receives UK government support
Plans to build a £500 million renewable energy power plant in Teesport, near the UK city of Middlesbrough, have received the consent of the UK government.

The 295MW biomass-fired power generation plant, which is to be constructed by MGT Power, is expected to enter commercial operation in 2012.

It will generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes, making it one of the world's largest-ever biomass plants.

Announcing the Teeside scheme, MGT Power director Chris Moore said: "The government's consent is welcome news as we are at an advanced stage with forestry establishment for fuel sourcing and power plant procurement."

He added that the facility will contribute £30 million per annum to the north east economy and save the UK 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

What's more, it is estimated that the biomass facility will make up 5.5 percent of the UK's total renewable electricity target.

Local MP David Kidney said: "Biomass generation, using sustainable
sources, is starting to make a significant contribution to the UK's energy
market and will help us reach our renewable targets."

http://www.mgtpower.com/files/2009-07-15%20S36%20Press%20...

ADNFCR-1235-ID-19271552-ADNFCR


Discussion Thread  

Duncan wrote:

20 Jul 2009

"The plant will use around 2.4m tonnes of woodchips per annum and will operate at base load – 24 hours a day, all year round. This means the Tees Renewable Energy Plant will produce the same amount of renewable electricity over a year as a 1,000MW wind farm."
Wood is part of the carbon cycle of life, so essentially the fuel source is carbon neutral, and the plant will also operate continually, so we have a reliable, non intermittent renewable power source. These are all fantastic qualities.

I do however find myself thinking that 2.8 million tonnes of wood is allot. That is 7,671 tonnes of wood a day.
Where in the world is this coming from? How is it getting to the plant?

Evidentially though the "trees are sustainably planted specifically for use as fuel, such as Short Rotation Forestry (eg. Eucalyptus, Pines) and Short Rotation Coppicing (eg. Willow, Poplar)." This strikes me as a good thing!
I then find myself thinking, “what was originally on the land that these trees are now being farmed on?” There were reports that cash crops such as Coffee bean plants and palms for bio fuel production lead to the felling of allot of natural habitat and jungles. I hope this is not the case here!
Will the increase in demand for fast growing soft wood from the developing nations of the world lead to the farming of existing natural habitats and jungles. If i was a subsistence farmer living hand to mouth, i think i would start to fell the jungle around me if there was a demand for fast growing soft wood trees!!
I also find myself questioning the energy security aspect of this endeavour. Are we now just importing yet another fuel from another foreign land? Is this fuel source secure? If it is, for how long? I think we are diversifying our fuels, so we are marginally improving our odds, but i do not feel our energy security has improved by much!

I do not wish to be derogatory about this endeavour, or the achievement of proving that coal and nuclear are not necessary for secure base load power. I do also feel at this point i would prefer this bio mass plant over the nuclear / coal alternative as we are not left with a nuclear waste that is untreatable and very expensive to securely store, or a coal derived carbon stream that governments are pretending we can just sequester in the ground. The correct geological formations just do not exist everywhere we need them!

However, i do wish to debate the point that renewable power tends to be about distributed generation of power, the use of the environment around us. So is the next stage of development the replication of this concept, but with a larger number of smaller scale plants. This way we could also use the heat produced by the plant and push the efficiency up further? Smaller plants would also enable the fuel source to coming from closer to home, thus we would not be dependent on a foreign nation for our energy!

Thoughts for debate.. Look forward to seeing what the readers / industry feel.


Duncan wrote:

20 Jul 2009

Duncan, some information about the fuel sources for this project is available here:



It does seem that the fuels are sometimes coming from the other side of the world, which is disappointing. I'd like to see more about how they intend to verify the source of the wood so that unsustainable logging does not manage to slip into the supply chain.


hforbes wrote:

24 Jul 2009

The current English harvest is 9m tonnes of wood. The Forestry Commission for England estimate that there is a further 4m tonnes of growth that goes unharvested in "undermanaged" forests and are hoping to bring 2m tonnes of that to market by 2020 so that alone would feed this project.


simonm wrote:

09 Apr 2010

I wonder how many tonnes of wood are disposed of to landfill?

We have a local wood yard which takes trees, turns most of them in to planks, fence posts etc. The remainer is classified (this is the EU) as waste and has to be disposed of in an official way. It is not fuel!

There is another wood yard that takes trees specifically for turning in to logs. These logs look identical to the 'waste' logs from the first woodyard, they can however be sold for burning, while the 1st 'waste' logs must be disposed of.

Stupid isn't it!




Discussion Thread  

 


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