Avonmouth pyrolysis firm baled out by Ethos

One of the projects in Defra's £30 million new technologies programme has been acquired by Uxbridge firm Ethos Recycling after a period in administration.

Avonmouth pilot pyrolysis plant
Avonmouth pilot pyrolysis plant
Compact Power had been developing a pyrolysis and gasification treatment plant, with a £5 million funding pledge from the government programme.

After suspending its shares last September, the company announced last week that it had gone into administration (17 January).

A company statement said: “This step has been taken following a demand by the secured creditor for an immediate repayment of his secured debt which the Company has been unable to comply with.”

The administration came after the sudden death in December of Richard Hogg, Avonmouth's business development director and one of the leading lights of the project.


Yesterday, Ethos Recycling announced that it has acquired the business and assets of Compact Power and wholly-owned subsidiary BATNEEC (Bristol), which operates a pilot pyrolysis facility in Avonmouth.

Ethos was previously known as skip-hire firm, Sweeney Environmental.

In addition to continuing BATNEEC's waste business, Ethos has pledged to pursue Compact Power's plans to build a new larger-scale facility to process 28,000 tonnes per annum of residual waste, alongside the site of the current Avonmouth plant.

The facility was granted planning approval in December 2004 but has been delayed by funding issues and technology approval (see letsreycle.com story)

In a statement Ethos Recycling explained that the new facility : “will combine the pyrolysis technology acquired from Compact Power and BATNEEC with Ethos' existing bio drying technology to produce sustainable and renewable green electricity from household waste processed at this site.”

It also said: “Ethos will shortly be appointing a manufacturer to build these plants, and will be licensing the sale of these plants on a worldwide basis.”

The New Technologies Demonstrator Programme was set up in 2003 to prove the viability of various new-to-market municipal waste treatment technologies, and help local authorities in their selection of processes needed to divert waste from landfill.

The Programme started out with 10 technologies however since then two of the chosen technologies have withdrawn from the scheme, the most recent being Australian-owned Novera Energy's gasification plant, last August.

Speaking to letsrecycle.com last August, the then head of Defra's New Technologies conceded: “We have always said the attrition rate for the programme would be very high,” he said. “The timescale we are operating on is very demanding – all of the technologies have to have their final reports done by the end of March 2009 and if they can't do that then obviously we have to come to an arrangement.”

Speaking to letsrecycle.com yesterday, a spokeswoman from Defra said that as far as the government is concerned that the Avonmouth project is continuing without problems. She said: “Our contract was with the Avonmouth Renewable Energy Plant , not with Compact Power, and as far as we are concerned the AERP is still going ahead.”

She added that Defra's funding is being paid “as we go along”, and that there was therefore no risk of losing the £5 million pledge.



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