Research shows more than 14,000 homes in the North East could be powered by electricity generated from waste wood. The Environmental Industries Federation (EIF) says the region could have as much as 750,000 tonnes of waste wood available for use as fuel. In fact, Wood chips are already being used as fuel in Northumberland.
The EIF claims there is about 130,000 tonnes of waste wood from the region's forestry and sawmills alone, which could be enough to power a major biomass power station. The EIF study also suggests that the 87,000 tonnes of waste wood currently destined for landfill could be used as a biomass fuel source, possibly providing a new line of business to recycling firms.
Frances Rowe, rural and environmental manger at regional development agency One NorthEast added: “There is huge potential for us to utilise waste wood as a power source. Pilot projects such as the one we recently supported in Kielder have shown there is the technology, resources and will to look at the alternatives”
A £650,000 system at Kielder already supplies heat and hot water to a school, youth hostel, six three-bedroom homes and a visitor centre.
The spruce tree chips produce the same power as fossil fuels, but without associated emissions.