Charles Hendry was in the North of England this week on a visit to Nottingham University’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) research unit, the site of the future Blackburn Meadows biomass plant and the new life-expired wood energy plant in Chilton, County Durham.
The Nottingham Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (NCCCS) is a joint venture between the British Geological Survey’s CO2 storage centre of excellence and the University of Nottingham’s CCS group.
The Minister was given a tour of the labs and met with researchers and PHD students working on CCS. He stressed that the Government is fully committed to CCS and that that £1bn in funding remains available for this new process.
He also said he was keen to forge even stronger links between the academic communities and industry on CCS to enable cost-competitive deployment of CCS in the 2020s.
From Nottingham Mr Hendry went to the site of the future Blackburn Meadows biomass plant.
Once operational in mid 2014 the £120m renewable energy plant will generate up to 30MW, enough to power 40,000 homes, by converting recycled waste wood into electricity.
The next stop on the Minister’s tour was Newcastle, where he gave the keynote address to the NOF Energy conference. His speech stressed on the importance of the supply chain to the region, and he congratulated the industry on the successful way they were seizing opportunities presented by both oil and gas and the move to the low carbon technologies.
He also engaged with some of the delegates over a roundtable discussion and met with most of the local and regional press.
The last stop was in Durham County, where the Minister visited Dalkia’s Chilton site to mark the official opening of the new life-expired wood energy plant in Chilton, County Durham.
The Chilton plant will use around 120,000 tonnes of biomass as a carbon neutral fuel each year - removing this from the waste stream and reducing the generating industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Mr Hendry unveiled a plaque to mark the event before being given a tour of the plant and the biomass pellet mill.