German power firm RWE have announced the project to convert their Tilbury B power plant to a biomass only station will be scrapped. The scheme, which was to be fuelled by a mass importation of wood pellets from Georgia, USA, and other European sources, would have made Tilbury the world’s largest biomass generating site.
Tilbury’s conversion from coal to biomass began in May 2011, with hopes the finished plant could generate up to 750MW burning wood and other organic matter including waste oil. RWE have cited technical difficulties in the conversion process, as well as a lack of funding for the project. With the project being mothballed, it is estimated 220 jobs will be lost.
RWE Generation’s chief technical officer, Roger Miesen, stated: “It is with regret that we are announcing the decision to halt the Tilbury biomass project. This decision has not been taken lightly. Tilbury remains a good site for future power generation. RWE still believes that biomass has a role to play in future power generation and will continue to progress options at strategic sites.”
There is still hope for Tilbury, however, as RWE are open to offers for the site, and are not dismantling the project. A resuscitation of the Tilbury biomass scheme would be welcomed by the government, who support biomass burning as a carbon-saving alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and gas.