Major investment in biomass energy plant


he Finance Durham Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners (Maven), has completed

a £650,000 investment in Consett, UK-based biomass energy plant SDS Inc Ltd. This generates heat, gas and electricity from wood chippings, producing solid wood fuel briquettes, a cheaper alternative to the traditional seasoned hardwood used for wood burning fires and stoves. The investment will allow SDS to purchase additional machinery to improve efficiency and sell wood briquettes on a commercial scale for use in log burners.

The investment into SDS is the third deal from the £20 million Fund set up by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, on behalf of Durham County Council. The Fund is managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s most active private equity houses and SME finance providers, to support the growth of high potential businesses located in or looking to relocate to the County. Maven provides flexible funding packages tailored to SMEs’ growth requirements and opened offices in both Newcastle and Durham last year to support regional businesses.

WRA elects new Deputy Chair

Left to right: Ben Jones and Michael Dickens of Maven; Morgan Corkill and Shane McDonald of SDS; Alex Wilby, Partner at Swinburne Maddison, who led the team of solicitors advising Maven; Sarah Slaven of Business Durham; and Councillor Carl Marshall of Durham County Council.

Founded in 2017 by expert renewable energy engineers, Shane McDonald and Morgan Corkill, SDS operates a biomass renewable energy plant from an industrial estate in Consett. The plant takes wood chippings waste from timber yards and applies a process to produce electricity. The site also has four engines and turbines that export electricity to the grid. Biomass energy production is a proven technology and currently represents 85% of the total UK renewable energy supply. Climate change and sustainability are central themes in Durham County Council’s ambition to create a thriving, resilient and engaged low-

carbon community by 2020. Demand is currently outweighing supply in the solid fuel market, with a 25-30% increase in demand for logs and wood-burning stove fuel alternatives year-on-year proving hard to satisfy. Wood briquettes burn hotter and cleaner, are cheaper to buy and much easier to store and handle than traditional, seasoned hardwood logs. Having designed and built 24 similar plants for clients via Calibrate Energy Engineering, their installation and maintenance company, Shane and Morgan have significant experience of installing, maintaining and operating these plants.

The Wood Recyclers Associa- tion (WRA) has elected Richard Coulson as its new Deputy Chair. Richard has been on the WRA Board for the past five years and is a member of its technical sub-committee, which has been leading on the key industry issues of Fire Prevention Plans and waste wood classifica- tion over the past 18 months. He takes over the position from Clem Spencer, who will remain on the board of directors. Richard is a member of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and has more than 20 years of procurement experience, 17 of those in the wood sector. He worked for Kronospan for 11 years before moving to become Biomass Procurement Manager at RWE Supply & Trading. Commenting on this

appointment, he said: “I’m really pleased to have been chosen by the WRA Board to be the association’s Deputy Chair. There is a lot going on in the sector at the moment, much of which has the potential for big impacts on both the wood recycling and biomass industries, so I’m looking forward to being able to represent the WRA on these issues”.

Wood recycler supports city trees

Award-winning Hadfield Wood Recyclers has unveiled its support for the Manchester City of Trees charity by donating a tree for every person that attended a recent corporate dinner it sponsored. The company announced its support at the Chartered Institute of Waste Management Presidential Dinner in London by donating a tree for every person in the room – a total of £1,800.

Hadfield Wood Recyclers was founded in Manchester 37 years ago. It has a strong affinity to the city and wider local community,

with its main processing site still being in Droylsden and servicing among other contracts, the Greater Manchester Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Hadfield Group recycled over 300,000 tonnes of waste wood last year through its three sites in Manchester, Middlesbrough and Essex, turning this waste stream into a variety of products, including feedstock for biomass fuel. Geoff Hadfield, Managing Director of Hadfield Wood Recyclers, said: “When we heard about the Manchester City of Trees

Manchester City of Trees Geoff Hadfield.

project we were really keen to give it some support. It’s a worthy cause, very close to our hearts, and one which helps local people by improving the environment and restoring unmanaged woodland”.

aims to re-invigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by restoring underused, unloved woodland and planting a tree for every man, woman and child that lives in the city within a generation. That’s a total of three million trees. The charity also aims to bring 2,000 hectares of unmanaged woodland back into use for the community and to connect local residents to the trees and woods around them. So far, it has planted 227,366 trees within Greater Manchester.

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