Verdo Renewables opens second UK pellet plant

By Lisa Gibson | May 12, 2011

The opening of a new pellet mill in Andover, Hampshire, means Verdo Renewables now has two operating pellet plants in the U.K., both producing about 55,000 metrics tons (60,600 tons) of pellets annually for heating systems, as well as 15,000 metric tons of briquettes.

April 27 marked the opening of the Andover plant, joining Verdo’s Grangemouth, Scotland, facility in providing pellets to help fulfill goals of the U.K.’s Renewable Heat Incentive, a tariff program that will issue its first payments to big heat users in July. The second phase of the incentive will revolve around the domestic sector and is slated to begin in 2012.

Greg Barker, minister of state for energy and climate change, attended the Andover opening and said more than 95 percent of heat in the U.K. is produced by burning fossil fuels, accounting for about half of the country’s carbon emissions. “The … Renewable Heat Incentive is the first of its kind in the world,” he said. “It will help the U.K. shift away from fossil fuels, support jobs and growth in an important green industry of the future. Verdo Renewables is in a prime position to take advantage of this existing new market in renewable heat.”

Richard Smith, managing director at Verdo Renewables U.K., echoed Barker, saying that while the new £15 million ($24.4 million) Andover facility represents a major investment for Verdo, it also offers the company an opportunity to participate in the ‘renewables revolution’ that is sweeping across the U.K. “We are now very much open for business and we are already attracting customers, both domestic and commercial, looking for high-performance, high-value products.”

The pellets and briquettes manufactured at both facilities are made from locally sourced virgin timber, according to Verdo. The company added that they are also the first pellet plants in the U.K. to receive certification under EN Plus, the new European standard for pellets. Both facilities are certified producing grade 1 premium pellets.