Biofuelwatch has just published a new report on biomass gasification and pyrolysis (so-called “advanced conversion technologies”) in the UK. In addition, a series of questions to the Green Investment Bank has also been published, highlighting serious concerns about the ‘due diligence’ carried out by GIB when funding a biomass gasifer.
Download the Executive Summary
Download the full report: Biomass gasification & pyrolysis:
How UK support for ‘energy innovation’ leads to business failures and particularly inefficient and dirty biomass power stations
view a map of all biomass gasification and pyrolysis plants in the uk (including proposed, abandoned and failed developments)
Biomass and waste gasification and pyrolysis are being heavily promoted by the UK government, and particularly generous subsidies have been made available for electricity generation from these technologies. Yet far from encouraging ‘energy innovation’, UK government policies and support measures in this sector have ended up encouraging investment in startup companies which have lost investors tens of millions of pounds, in a spate of development proposals for and investments in plants which would be less efficient than most existing biomass plants and potentially dirtier and more dangerous to operate. And after more than a decade of strong support for both technologies, they have not contributed anything to energy generation.
The report looks in detail at gasification and pyrolysis technologies and at the biomass gasifiers and pyrolysis plants that have been proposed, approved, built and in many cases closed down across the UK – and at the policy choices and support mechanisms by the UK Government. It investigates the the technical challenges associated with those technologies and the reasons why projects have failed and the companies behind the failed and current UK developments. It further looks at whether gasification and pyrolysis plants are more or less efficient and whether they are cleaner or dirtier than standard biomass combustion plants. Although the report focuses specifically on the use of biomass, gasification and pyrolysis are widely promoted for Municipal Solid Waste, too and the findings will be of relevance to anybody concerned about MSW gasification and pyrolysis, too.