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 percent 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.
Powered by palm kernel shells, which are the byproducts of palm oil plantations, the plant will reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent 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-Teesside 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.