With a consortium of investors putting a total of $47.8m into the project, the plant will use a new gasification technology that will convert recovered wood into electricity.

The technology is a form of advanced thermal treatment of waste, where the carbon-based material in the waste is converted into a gas which is used to raise steam. This is then passed through a turbine to produce electricity.

Over its expected 20 year lifetime, the new plant is expected to supply enough renewable energy to power 17,000 homes each year and deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. It will also save approximately 1.3 million tonnes of wood from landfill.

UK GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “As the UK works towards its targets to generate more power from green sources, it’s important that we bring on new technologies. I’m pleased the Green Investment Bank has been able to support the first gasification plant of its kind in the UK and hope it offers a positive demonstration effect that others will follow.

“The project also highlights the wider economic benefits of investing in new green technologies with a hundred new jobs to construct the plant, 19 good quality new jobs in its ongoing operation and a long term contract for a local small business.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he was “encouraged” to see the new technology come to the UK for the first time.

“This investment will create green jobs and help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and converting wood diverted from landfill into cleaner energy for thousands of homes and businesses. It is also good news for the local area helping to build a stronger economy by creating over 100 private sector jobs in Birmingham.”

Leigh Stringer

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