7 October 2019 by Joshua Doherty

BIG Group opens waste wood gasification plant

The Bioenergy Infrastructure (BIG) Group has officially opened its 170,000 tonne per year capacity waste wood gasification plant in Ince, Cheshire.

However, the plant – handed over to BIG last year before becoming fully operational in March 2019 – is currently suffering an outage due to problems with the screw feeder and is due to be back online this month, the developers of the plant explained last week.

Ince Bio Power

The 170,000 tonne gasification plant has been fully operational since March 2019

Another defects liability period (DLP) is planned soon to ensure any problems with the facility are corrected.

According to BIG, the plant which was developed by infrastructure group CoGen works by using waste wood as a feedstock into a gasifier, with the gas produced then burnt to produce a steam which runs a turbine, which then generates 22MW of electricity a year.

While exact tonnages and electricity generated so far is unavailable, the developers are said to be pleased with plants performance and are confident that it will be a success “once teething problems are out of the way”.

The plant is also believed to benefit from an increased Renewable Energy Certificate (ROC) which is given to gasifier facilities as they are said to be a form of ‘cleaner energy’ than that from traditional incineration facilities.

There are thought to be seven facilities using the technology in the country, including three in the BIG portfolio.


Waste wood for the Ince plant is provided by both Moody’s and Manchester-based wood recycler Bodens, who collect from a number of sites across Manchester including local authority sites and construction and demolition waste.

Ince Bio Power

The mayor of Ellesmere Port,  Michael Edwardson (centre) opened the plant along with BIG’s chief executive Hamish McPherson (l) and Cllr Gareth Gold (r)

This is then processed at their plant in Astley, before being taken to a large storage area nearby to the plant. This ensures the supply of waste wood is not affected by any of the outages.

The plant was officially opened last week (October 02) by the mayor of Ellesmere Port, councillor Michael Edwardson, who cut the ribbon and praised the work done by the company in getting the facility built and the “great impact it will have on the local area”.

‘Cleaner burn’

Speaking with letsrecycle.com, Hamish McPherson, BIG’s chief executive, said the plant’s technology ensures a ‘cleaner burn’ than traditional facilities and he is happy to see the plant open.

“The plant commenced commissioning in 2017 and achieved takeover in mid-2018 following performance checks and we demonstrated we can produce the power we’re supposed to,” he explained.

“We’re in the DLP now, and once you operate for a certain period you understand some of the defects and parts of the facility that needs fixing. We expect another one at the end of Q1 next year.

“What we have built here is a fluidised bed which essentially means that the fuel that comes in turns to gas extraordinarily quickly. There are a number of these types of facilities across Europe and North America. We have the benefits or the gasifaction process and with a technology that’s well understood.”

BIG invests in a number of energy facilities across the UK, including the Hull Energy Works facility, Evermore Renewable Energy and Birmingham Bio Power.


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