Growing Beds Recycling Services Ltd, a specialist in manufacturing soil conditioners for agriculture and recycling low grade wood waste, has struck a deal with renewable energy company Purepower to construct one of the UK’s first such plants.

When fully operational, it is set to convert 12,000 tonnes of low-grade wood waste into energy each year, which will be fed into the local grid system.

Growing Beds, based in Ravesden, will provide the fuel and take care of the day-to-day operation and maintenance, while Purepower, which is leasing the land the plant will be built on, will manage the connection to the grid.

Mark Evans, managing director of Growing Beds, told edie the company first began looking into energy-from-waste schemes about three years ago in a bid to deal with the large quantities of low-grade waste wood.

He said: “That’s what really concerned me, because it is the material that is going to landfill.

“We always thought we would like to be in charge of the end product and one of the things that we looked at was waste-to-energy.”

He said he chose gasification because it was one of the most suitable technologies for the small-scale plant Growing Beds will be operating, and although it is not widely used in the UK, it has been proven elsewhere.

Mr Evans said: “Someone has got to go first. Gasification technology is proven in Europe so if we do have problems, I’m pretty sure there will be solutions.”

Adam Overfield, chief executive of Purepower, added: “This is an exciting project for Purepower. We are looking forward to working closely with Growing Beds on future projects.”

It is hoped the plant, which first gained planning permission in 2006, will begin operating in the autumn.

A recent report commissioned by the Greater London Authority said technologies such as gasification were some of the most carbon-friendly ways of dealing with waste.

Kate Martin

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