An energy plant which will supply power to 17,000 homes will be built in Birmingham, a power company has said. MWH Treatment said it would be fuelled by 67,000 tonnes of wood every year. The plant, in Tyseley, would burn wood through a steam turbine and generator system, creating energy to be sold to the national grid. The building stage is estimated to create 100 jobs, with 19 continuing ones when the plant is up and running. Birmingham Bio Power Ltd (BBPL) has been created by the parent company MWH Treatment, and will run the site.

Ian Miller from MHW Treatment, said preparation work would begin imminently.

“We will be breaking the first ground early in the new year,” he said.

Canadian company Nexterra is designing and supplying the system, which will include four gasifiers, a high pressure boiler, and a flue gas treatment system.

The plant will convert recovered wood into electricity using gasification technology, where the carbon-based material in the waste is converted into a gas which is used to raise steam that is then passed through a turbine to produce electricity.

Serious consideration

The project will be supplied with around 70,000 tonnes a year of wood from JM Envirofuels, a Birmingham landscaping and recycling company.

“The scheme has been in the pipeline for three or four years,” Mr Miller said.

“And it’s been under serious consideration for about a year.”

The plant, which is due to open in 2016, has an estimated shelf life of 20-25 years.

It will be on the site of the Webster and Horsfall factory, where the first transatlantic cable was manufactured in 1866 – it comprised of 30,000 miles of wire, and took 250 workers more than 11 months to make.