Welland BioPower Plant – the Power of Collaboration

Welland Bio Power Plant, in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England, is currently under construction by MWH Treatment. Completion is scheduled for 2017, when the plant will generate enough energy to provide electricity for approximately 17,000 homes by gasifying 60,000 tons of dry wood waste each year.

The plant will make a positive contribution to the local community and the environment, not only through creating a sustainable electricity source, but also by helping to save over half a million tons of CO2 over the course of the project’s lifetime. This project will create over 100 construction and 19 full-time plant jobs, as well as supporting numerous local SMEs and business growth.

During the planning process, MWH Treatment engaged all stakeholders, which included the Welland Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency, who are responsible for protection and enhancement of the environment and rivers. MWH Treatment shared detailed plans which enabled all parties to review and provide feedback on the proposed development. An issue that came up was population growth in this area has put pressure on the adjacent Welland River which doesn’t have adequate resources to recover and repair itself naturally and has become polluted.
MWH Treatment, the Welland Rivers Trust, and the Environment Agency combined their knowledge and experience to design an outflow system to treat the water before feeding it to the river, providing a source of much needed clean and oxygenated water. This system will capture rainwater from the roof of the Bio power plant as well as other outbuildings on site. Industrial water from the energy plant will be treated using a multi-phase treatment system before being blended with the collected drainage from the site. The final stage of the process will be a reed bed to naturally cleanse the water before being released into the river.  As a result, the river water quality in this catchment area will improve dramatically.

Lisa Smallwood Project officer at the Welland Rivers Trust said, “We believe that working alongside businesses and landowners is key to identifying and addressing issues at a local scale, which will accumulate to a wider ecological improvement for the water environment. Working alongside MWH has enabled us to demonstrate the effectiveness of these local partnerships.”

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