British nursery planning biomass CHP plant

By Anna Austin | February 21, 2012

One of Britain’s largest nurseries has proposed an 8.5 MW combined-heat-and-power (CHP) biomass plant at its New Milton, Hampshire County, location.

The Double H Nurseries Ltd. site currently consists of 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of greenhouses used for the propagation and development of potted plants for sale in Britain. The proposed plan involves demolishing a small portion of the existing greenhouse complex to make room for the plant, which would generate 1.5 MW of heat and 7 MW of electricity, mainly to be used onsite. Surplus power will be sent to the national grid via existing connections.

Double H Nurseries said rising costs of oil and gas, on top of concerns with reducing the company’s environmental impact, prompted investigation of alternative fuel sources. Biomass CHP using waste wood sources was identified by the company as the most appropriate option, especially in light of the U.K.’s Renewable Heating Incentive.

The RHI program offers long-term support to compensate for capital and operating costs, as well as to remove additional barriers and ease financial costs, for thermal technologies classed as renewable under the U.K.’s Renewable Energy Directive. Support will be distributed in the form of tariffs based on technology and size.

About 20,000 metric tons of wood waste/wood chips will be required annually to power the plant. Double H Nurseries plans to source the feedstock from within 15 miles of the site, and has already investigated fuel availability. The company said similarly scaled developments within proximity of the plant don’t represent a competition for biomass, as the company has identified a fuel source that doesn’t conflict with other projects.

An exhibition to address public concerns with the project was held in September 2010, and an environmental assessment found that emissions from the plant are unlikely to have a significant impact on local air quality and the health of people living nearby. It also found that emissions are unlikely to cause significant harm to ecologically sensitive habitats within the vicinity of site development.

Double H Nurseries submitted an application to the Hampshire County Council in late January, and consent is still pending.