Construction has started on an anerobic digester in County Durham which will see locally-grown grass provide power for a neighbouring nanotechnology firm.
Consett-based Thomas Swan & Co will benefit from the renewable power and heat from the 1MW anaerobic digester (AD), currently being built by specialist developer Hallick Energy.
Funded by Generation X Energy Ltd, the plant will be supplied MT-Energie UK, with the power source coming from locally-grown grass, whole crop silage and maize.
MT-Energie said the plant will be a multi-million pound construction that will be able to create a great number of jobs involved in the construction activities, feedstock supply, service and maintenance and operation of the plant.
Set up in 1926, Thomas Swan is leading chemicals and nanotechnology company which exports to some 80 countries worldwide and employees more than 150 staff.
The family firm, which posted pre-tax profits of £797,000 on turnover of £25.1m in the year ended March 2013, is now run by managing director Harry Swan, the great-grandson of its founder, who said the business has been seeking ways to reduce its carbon footprint through more sustainable energy sources for some time.
Once it is fully operation late this year the AD plant is set to receive income from the government’s FIT (Feed In Tariff) scheme, the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and sales from generated heat and power.
Harry Swan, managing director, said: “Through this plant we will be able to integrate our existing energy needs with a clean source which will reduce the environmental impact of our activity.
“Thanks to this project we will also be less susceptible to ever rising energy prices, reducing overheads and securing our business”.
Hallick Energy say the plant will be completed later this year with full production of heat, power and liquid fertiliser, which will be spread back on the nearby farmland.
Harry Hoskyns Abrahall, of Hallwick Energy, said: “With this project we prove that AD is a viable and effective solution which brings benefits not only to farms and households but also to energy-intensive businesses”.
Andrew Black, managing director of MT-Energie UK, added: “We are looking forward to a good working relationship with Hallwick Energy.”