A state-of-the-art biomass facility has moved a step closer to reality after energy giant RWE npower renewables signed a contract with papermaker Tullis Russell to supply its paper mill with heat and electricity from a biomass-fuelled co-generation plant

The facility will replace the existing coal-fired power plant at Tullis Russell’s paper mill at Markinch, Fife and will have an installed capacity of 50 MW. It is believed the plant will reduce Tullis Russell’s carbon footprint by 72%, reduce annual carbon emissions by 250,000 tonnes and generate 6% of Scotland’s renewable generation targets.

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Commenting on the deal, Chris Parr, chief executive officer of Tullis Russell Group, said: “The plant will reduce our carbon footprint by 72% thereby significantly enhancing our credentials as an environmental leader in the production of boards within our chosen market sectors of cards, covers and premium packaging.

“The removal of 250,000 tonnes of fossil fuel CO2 per annum from our local environment will make an enormous contribution to our relentless efforts to minimise the environmental impact of our operation on the local community,” he added.

Funding

The plant has been funded by RWE npower renewables’ parent company, RWE Innogy – who have invested around £200 million – and the Scottish Government has provided a £8.1 million RSA grant to help build the facility.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, said: “This new biomass plant complements the Scottish Government’s work to create a greener Scotland and will contribute to our work to cut carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy.”

Paul Cowling, managing director of RWE npower renewables, said: “This investment is a major commitment by RWE and is in line with RWE strategy and Government policy to reduce CO2 emissions in the UK electricity sector. This type of investment would not have been possible without the support from the Government’s Renewables Obligation support mechanism.”

Biomass

Biomass is a renewable energy source of biological material from living, or recently living, organisms, such as wood, waste and alcohol fuels. It can be used to generate electricity and produce heat.

Npower Cogen’s development team has been managing the biomass project at Markinch with colleagues from across the RWE Group. Around 400,000 tonnes of virgin and used wood will be used to power the plant and contracts will be drawn up with local and national companies for the supply of biomass.

Construction work has started and the power plant is due to be operational in 2012.

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