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Feedstock suppliers alerted to new UK biomass plant

A new £108 million ($167.9 million) biomass plant in Workington, UK that is halfway through its construction stage is now looking for energy crop suppliers.

The plant is situated at the Swedish-owned Iggesund paperboard factory and is due to go live next year. Test harvesting on a farm near Carlisle has already taken place and 500,000 tonnes of willow will be needed a year to power the factory site. Any excess power the biomass plant generates will be sold on to the National Grid.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has singled out areas suitable for growing willow and Iggesund staff will attend local agricultural shows to impart information to farmers about the scheme.

Alternative fuels manager for the project, Neil Watkins, was quoted as saying: ‘We’re trialling different harvesting methods and signing up people now because they have got to get applications in to DEFRA.’

‘We’re not expecting Cumbria to become covered in energy crops, but we do believe this can be a convenient way for farmers to diversify and gain an additional source of income,’ adds Iggesund finance director Ulf Lofgren. ‘We can take care of harvesting and transporting the crop and will offer index-linked contracts so farmers can count on a reliable source of income for many years.’