£2.5m for Welsh biofuel firm

A company which has developed a biofuel based on waste from the industrial food sector has received a £2.5m investment thanks to a Government-sponsored programme to boost small and medium enterprises in Wales.

Brigend-based Inetec is developing of waste-to-renewable-energy projects in the industrial food manufacturing sector and has received the cash boost through Finance Wales, an organisation set up by the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Development Agency to help reach businesses in the country to reach their full potential.

Finance Wales is backed by European and private sector funding.

Phil Nicholas, chief executive at Inetec, told edie the company takes in industrial food waste from manufacturers of ready meals, the supermarkets themselves and large-scale caterers such as airports and hospitals.

“It’s a niche sector and the waste has a very different composition to most other waste streams,” he said.

“Black bag waste, for example, is a very dry material compared to this, which is relatively moist.

“We take the waste without segregation, so you have the food waste itself, a lot of packaging and some waste water and we turn it into what is in essence a biofuel, using a process we call abrasive drying”

He said the end product has a sand-like consistency and could be used to fuel either conventional combustion energy-from-waste plants or, as was increasingly the case for large scale installations, those which use advanced combustion techniques such as pyrolosis and gasification.

The £2.5 million investment will help Inetec build a number of combined heat and power (CHP) plants in the UK which will use the company’s own fuel.

The plants will produce heat for industry and electricity will feed the national grid.

Each CHP will generate four revenue streams including a gate fee for waste collection, the sale of heat energy to industry, the sale of renewable electricity to the grid and the sale of marketable Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

Mr Nicholas added said “We’ve already made significant inroads into the sector, attracting a number of high profile food manufacturers as customers.

“For such companies Inetec’s technology presents a cost effective and environmentally responsible solution to what is becoming an ever increasing problem.

“Following the securing of new contracts, and in order to support our ambitious development programme, we required a substantial investment.

“We are delighted therefore that Finance Wales have followed early stage investment with a significant follow-on commitment.”

Nick Sylvester, Finance Wales’ investment executive, said: “There is a significant market opportunity for Inetec to address both the rising landfill costs and increasing legislative pressure to develop sustainable waste disposal methods and renewable energy needs.

“The company also benefits from the further advantage that its patented technology is the only commercially available solution able to treat all types of food waste without the need for pre-treatment or packaging removal.”

Sam Bond

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