£2bn deal to build waste to power and prawn plants

Aaron Morby 10 months ago
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A Chinese investment group is to plough £2bn into backing two innovative combined energy and food plants in Wales.

Welsh biomass
Holyhead biomass plant and eco park will be built on the site of the former Anglesey Aluminium Plant

Chinese investment group SinoFortone is backing plans to develop revolutionary biomass energy plants and combined prawn cultivating farms at Holyhead and Port Talbot.

The projects being developed by Orthios Eco Parks will take heat from biomass power stations and use the waste heat to grow food, starting with king prawns and vegetables.

Chief executive of Orthios Sean McCormick said that 1,000 jobs would be created at the two power plants.

He added: “We have spent five years researching and developing this model and the investment from China will help us roll it out across the planet.

“China’s focus on green energy and its ability to take a long-term view was instrumental in securing the deal.”

An energy centre forms the core of the Orthios Eco Park plans. There will be 5 independent 60 MWe power modules and we Around 1.5m tonnes of biomass per year will fuel five 60Mw power modules capable of providing 300,000 homes with electricity by 2020.

The excess heat and carbon dioxide will be recycled into the Eco Park to be reused for enhancing the cultivation of fish and vegetables.

Angelsey Eco Park & Energy Centre

The Project

  • A 299 MWe biomass power station within the existing consented scheme
  • The world’s largest on-land prawn growing facility (aquaculture)
  • A large soil-less indoor vegetable growing facility (hydroponics)
  • The world’s first home compostable food packaging facility
  • The CFP Centre of Excellence
  • Research and development
  • A deep water jetty for bulk import

Privately-owned investment company SinoFortone Group has been backed financially by the Chinese state.

Its chief executive Dr Peter Zhang said: “We see this as a ground changing model that many countries will benefit from and are delighted to be teamed with the Orthios team.”

He added: “We were impressed with the Orthios professional team and how much research and development they have invested in their unique combined food and power solution.

“With us and the Chinese state as their backers, we are confident we can maximize efficiencies and provide a production facility to deliver this solution around the world.”

The Holyhead biomass plant and eco park will be built on the site of the former Anglesey Aluminium Plant and could be operational in 2017, while the Port Talbot facility is expected to become operational in three years time.

In Port Talbot Othios and SinoFortone Group are working with Associated British Ports on the proposed project.

Speaking to the BBC head of commercial at ABP South Wales, Ralph Windeatt, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Orthios and Sino-Fortone to deliver the Port Talbot Eco Park, a combined power and food facility that will deliver much welcomed economic growth, jobs and training opportunities in the region.”

As part of an overall £5bn investment in the UK, SinoFortone has also agreed to invest £3.2bn in a major amusement park in Ebbsfleet.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We welcome any further progress on these two projects, which have the potential to create hundreds of jobs and provide a major boost for the local economy.”

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