Bridgette Meinhold

New Biomass Plant for the UK Looks Like a Giant Green Volcano

by , 12/21/09
biomass plant, BEI-Teeside, native grass, indigenous grass, UK, low carbon technology

The United Kingdom is splattered with fossil fuel based power plants and concrete cooling towers which are major carbon producers as well as eyesores. Luckily, plans for a new biomass power plant covered in native grasses in the UK have just been released and they will complement the surrounding ecology as well as decrease carbon emissions by 80% compared to coal or gas fired power stations. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, a London-based firm, the 49.3 MW power plant located on the banks of the River Tees will be a man-made mountain covered in plants and will certainly be a welcome replacement to the older, pollution-spewing plants around the country.

biomass plant, BEI-Teeside, native grass, indigenous grass, UK, low carbon technology

Powered by palm kernel shells, which are the byproducts of palm oil plantations, the plant will reduce carbon emissions by 80% compared to traditional coal or gas fired stations. The palm kernel shells, considered a renewable fuel, will be delivered directly by boat, eliminating the need to haul the fuel by truck. The 49 MW plant will provide enough power for 50,000 homes, providing cleaner, lower carbon baseload power for the region. Inside, the power plant will also contain offices, a visitors’ center and an education resource center for renewable energy.

Built on a brownfield site next to the river, the BEI-Teeside plant will bring much needed investment to the area, as well as renew a currently barren plot of land. While similar plants are certainly not free of carbon emissions, this biomass plant is a step in the right direction and is one of the best looking power plants we’ve ever seen.

+ Heatherwick Studio

Via Dezeen

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5 Comments

  1. cianc1 July 19, 2010 at 5:13 am

    been approved for planning as of march

  2. mccosker May 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    The Palm oil plantations that this material will come from will be grown in a country where forest has been removed to grow these trees.

    CO2 is released as well as other air pollutants. Include the destruction of the forest, impact to soil and CO2 released in transportation. Biomass is the next greening scam. Don’t buy it!

  3. davidwayneosedach December 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Leave it to the UK to come up with such a beautiful design!

  4. Eclipse Now December 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    What a waste of biomass! If I ran the world all electricity would come from solar, wind, geothermal, CETO wave power (24 hour baseload and invisible, underwater), even 3rd Generation Nukes (which *eat* all that old nuclear waste as fuel, what waste problem?!) and SAVE ALL BIOMASS for biochar production.

    We are rapidly approaching peak oil and will need liquid fuels for our larger equipment like harvesters and construction cranes etc. We are rapidly approaching peak phosphorus and need ways to be more efficient with the nutrients we have. We are rapidly approaching dangerous climate change and need a way to DRAW DOWN Co2 from the atmosphere. Putting ALL biomass through Biochar cookers to give us both synthetic gas (or synfuel if we need it) AND biochar to improve our soils is not just going to give us liquid fuels and better soils, but will be a CARBON NEGATIVE way to draw Co2 out of the air and lock it up in our soils for the next few thousand years.

    So: renewables (and nukes?) for electricity, ABSOLUTELY! But don’t WASTE our biomass by merely burning it and releasing that Co2 back into the atmosphere! Don’t burn it, Biochar it!

    Cheers, and keep up the great work.

  5. MDM76 December 22, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I like this landscapetecture :)

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