Monday, March 3, 2014

News: Biomass plant plans passed


An environmentally friendly form of energy and 140 new jobs are set to be generated in Rotherham after a planning application was approved for a biomass development in Templeborough.

Operators, the Brite Partnership, secured planning permission in 2010 for the development at the Firth Rixson Ickles Works where land and disused buildings where purchased in March 2011. Now, revised plans have been granted permission for a plant that will generate heat and power from carbon-neutral renewable wood pellet fuel.

Following a financial review of the project, the plans for wood pellet manufacturing capability has been increased from 200,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) to 350,000 tpa as a result of increased demand from potential customers in the coal-fired power generation sector. Plans for a liquid biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant were removed as they are no longer financially viable so the capacity of the planned biomass CHP plant on the site has been increased.

The biomass CHP plant will have the ability to generate sufficient renewable electricity to power approximately 40% of the households in Rotherham. The plant is set generate 34MWth of thermal energy to the pellet manufacturing process, and 31MWe of renewable electricity, with around 29.2MWe of renewable electricity available for distribution to the grid. Applicants estimate that the development will save as much as 15.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions that would have been emitted from traditional fossil fuel power stations.

Timber pre-treatment activities will be undertaken on land on the Shenker rail sidings site with a conveyor system set to take the wood pellets over Sheffield Road to the CHP plant on the Firth Rixson site.

The timber debarking and chipping plant on the Shenker site will require 40 full-time staff, in addition to the further 100 required on the Firth Rixson site.

Objections were submitted from occupants of surrounding industrial premises, raising concerns of dust from the timber processing plant and emissions from the CHP plant. Planners were satisfied with studies in to air quality that predicted that, in a worst case scenario, there would be a small increase in ground-level concentration of pollutants as a result of the operation of the biomass CHP plant.

The planner's report concluded: "Although the proposed facility could lead to a small increase in ground-level concentrations of some pollutants within local areas, it is not considered that the development would have an unacceptable effect on air quality. Furthermore it is considered that the development would have environmental benefits in terms of the reduced need for conventional power generation and the reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with the disposal of waste by landfill."

The plans were approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council subject to a number of conditions. In addition to a number of mitigation measures, conditions include financial contributions to highway works and improvements to the nearby Centenary Riverside urban wetland nature park.

Brite has the support of the UK Government's Green Investment Bank for the Rotherham project and has selected a contractor for the build. The partnership expects to expand in the coming years with similar projects throughout the country.

Brite Partnership website

Images: Brite Partnership


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