Grass to power power station
London, May 30:
Britain’s first major electricity plant to be fuelled by grass will begin construction later this year. The GBP6.5 million power station in Staffordshire, central England, will burn locally cultivated elephant grass and will be able to supply 2,000 homes with electricity. Amanda Gray, director of Eccleshall Biomass, the company behind the power station, said the project was of major importance to rural industry in Staffordshire and offered another way to meet the UK’s obligation to reduce carbon emissions, because burning the elephant grass will only release the carbon dioxide that the plants soaked up anyway while they were growing.
With only one per cent of the world’s population, the UK produces three per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Around 170 farmers are now diversifying into growing the energy crop to feed the two megawatt steam-turbine generator at the Raleigh Hall industrial estate, in Eccleshall, near Stafford. The local regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), has also got in on the act by approving a GBP935,000 grant to help pay for the power station. A spokesman for AWM said agricultural activities accounted for nearly 75 per cent of land use in the region and the plant would play a vital role in regenerating the rural areas and enabling
farmers to diversify. The plant would operate for 8,000 hours a year on a 24-hour basis and save one tonne per hour of carbon dioxide, which would otherwise have been emitted using fossil fuels to generate electricity.