Commissioning of Barry Biomass gasifier restarts

Performance testing at the Barry Biomass plant has resumed after a “period of voluntary downtime” lasting nearly 18 months.  

Barry Biomass
The Barry Biomass facility was granted an environmental permit in February 2018

Commissioning at the much-delayed plant began in March 2019, but was paused in April the following year.

Aviva Investors, the company financing the 86,000 tonnes per year waste wood gasifier, says this has mainly been due to the ongoing disruptive effects of Covid-19 effecting the security of fuel supply.

In a letter to residents on Monday (23 August), the operator of the plant, Barry Biomass Ltd, said that commissioning had now restarted, and the company will “remain in regular contact” with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) during this time.

During the commissioning phase, the company will be starting the plant on auxiliary fuel before transferring to solid waste wood ranging from grades A-C.

Once active, it will operate 24 hours a day.

History

The waste wood gasifier was designed to recover energy from pre-prepared mixed waste wood.

Barry Biomass claims it will feed 10 megawatts of electricity into the local grid per year, enough to power 23,000 households.

It was first granted planning permission in 2010 but didn’t begin construction until 2016. In 2018, NRW granted it an environmental permit.

In the early phases of commissioning,  the plant was issued with a warning by NRW for “several breaches” of this permit.

In December, when the plant was out of action for nine months, Barry Biomass said it had to “reconstruct” the fire tank at the site due to the prolonged period of non-use.

Assessment

And, in February 2021, the Welsh Government asked the company to prepare an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

In its letter this week, Barry Biomass said it submitted an environmental statement, which presents the findings of the EIA, to the Welsh Government.

It said: “The environmental statement concludes that there are no likely significant environmental effects arising from the development, which have not already been suitably mitigated through existing planning and environmental permitting controls.”

The letter continued: “As part of our commitment to achieving the highest possible standards of operational excellence we will continue to monitor every stage of the operation, to ensure that our work does not cause undue disturbance or inconvenience.”

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