A waste energy plant which could raise extra money for Shropshire Council could actually see a plant built in Powys, it has been revealed.

The council will acquire a 50% ownership in a Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) created to run the “Pyrolysis” energy recovery facility in north Powys, at an unnamed site near Welshpool, with the remaining 50% held by a private firm.

The authority says the scheme will generate an estimated annual profit of £133,333 from the sale of biochar, a product of the pyrolysis process which is used in soil improvement schemes and can also be used for air and water filtration.

Combustible gasses and oils created as a by-product can also be burned to produce electricity, around 35% of which would be used to power the pyrolysis unit itself. The rest can be sold to nearby businesses and residences, or to the grid, the council says.

“The biochar project is an innovative and sustainable way to reduce net carbon emissions and create value from waste. It is a collaborative and cross-border initiative that supports local businesses and communities,” said Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport.


“We would be the first council in the UK to do this, but it is a scalable and replicable model that can be applied to other locations and has already attracted interest from other councils in the UK and companies internationally.”

They say the facility, which burns “organic waste or biomass materials”  at high temperatures to create the biochar, will operate as a “demonstrator” site in Powys with officers continuing to work on identifying a site in Shropshire.

Around £2m of council funding was approved for a similar scheme in September last year, thought to be earmarked for the Battlefield site in Shrewsbury, with other possible locations of Ludlow and Bridgnorth being considered.

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Shropshire Council says the scheme will offset carbon emissions and will enable them to sell ‘carbon credits’ on the open market.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets said following the decision taken at cabinet the unit would be up and running by this autumn.

“Shropshire Council will be the first council in the UK to develop a pyrolysis unit for biochar with private business to sequester carbon,” he said.

“The joint venture will build a pyrolysis biochar demonstration plant across the border in Powys, in the Marches Forward Partnership area. The SPV will be named Biodynamic Carbon Ltd, and drawing on the expertise and existing infrastructure of our business partner we would expect to see the unit up and running by August this year.”