29 October 2015 by Michael Holder

Work begins on £100m Cheshire waste wood biomass project

Construction work has started on a 21.5MWe waste wood biomass plant at the former Ince Park site in Cheshire, after developer CoGen Ltd announced it had reached financial close on the project today (October 29).

Artist's impression of the Protos site wherer the CoGen biomass plant is being built

Artist’s impression of the Protos site wherer the CoGen biomass plant is being built

The £100m biomass plant will use ‘Advanced Conversion Technology’ to process up to 170,000 tonnes per year of recovered waste wood in to enough energy to power around 40,000 homes over 20 years of operation.

It will also qualify for 1.8 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for the first 19 or more years of its lifespan.

According to CoGen, a long term supply contract for the waste wood feedstock has been agreed with Ince Park Renewables Ltd, while a long term power purchase agreement has been reached with energy firm nPower for the electricity, which the plant is expected to begin producing in 2017.

The facility is expected to save around 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent to takin 40,000 average cars off the road each year.

Construction is being undertaken by contractor MBV Energy – a joint venture between global engineering firm MWH Treatment and US-based Black & Veatch – while Finland-based technology firm Outotec Energy Products is the main technology subcontractor. In addition, MWH Treatment has been appointed as the operation and maintenance contractor.

Up to 150 jobs are expected to be created during construction of the plant, with 27 full time jobs on site once the 20MW facility becomes operational.

CoGen

The Ince Bio Power project is the fourth biomass plant being developed CoGen – which came into being after the merger of O-Gen UK and Carbonarius in August 2014 – alongside facilities in Birmingham, Northamptonshire (‘Welland Bio Power’) and Plymouth (‘Dartmoor Bio Power’), with the latter two reaching financial close earlier this year.

"It is great to get a complex project of this significant size through financial close. We are delighted to be partnering with Bioenergy Infrastructure Group and are excited to be working with them going forward to deliver multiple similar projects."

Ian Brooking
CoGen chief executive

Chief executive of CoGen, Ian Brooking, commented: “It is great to get a complex project of this significant size through financial close. We are delighted to be partnering with Bioenergy Infrastructure Group and are excited to be working with them going forward to deliver multiple similar projects. CoGen has a significant pipeline of projects coming through and is now firmly established as the major player in advanced gasification in the UK.”

According to CoGen, the Ince biomass plant is the first in a line of its projects to be fully financed in an all-equity transaction by the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG). Announced earlier this month, the new investment group comprises stakeholders Infracapital, Aurium Capital Markets, Foresight Group and Helios.

Hamish McPherson, chief executive of BIG, said: “We are delighted that the financial close of Ince Bio Power project coincided with the launch of Bioenergy Infrastructure Group which we hope will soon become established as a leading player in the sector.”

Ince Park

The CoGen biomass plant is being constructed on two plots totalling 7.5 hectares leased on the the Protos Site – formerly known as Ince Park – owned by energy developer Peel Environmental Ltd, which is part of the Peel Land and Property Group.

Originally it was Peel Environmental which secured planning permission for a biomass facility at Ince Park in 2010 (see letsrecycle.com story), but plans for the Park as a whole have undergone a number of changes since the firm first secured planning in 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Peel Environmental is itself also behind plans for an EfW, MRF and anaerobic digestion project in Glasgow, an EfW plant at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire and a 20MW timber resource recovery facility at Houghton Main in Barnsley.

And, also announced today, the Protos site in Cheshire also includes the 19-turbine, 50MW Frodsham wind farm, which has also begun construction alongside the biomass plant and an access road to the site.

Peel Environmental has secured a ‘multi-million pound’ loan from the North West Evergreen Fund to deliver phase one of infrastructure at the 126-acre Protos site, which the firm claims has the potential to create a total of 3,000 jobs once further development of a “collection of industries” is unlocked there.

A partnership has also been agreed between Peel and the University of Chester’s existing neighbouring Thornton Science Park in the hope of further increasing industry investment in the site.

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