Some UK firms are coming together to take advantage of a bio-energy market that is rapidly growing around the world.
Under the name Renewable Energy Supply Chain Opportunities (RESCO), associates at Staffordshire University have compiled nearly 43 companies in the Northern UK to help firms identify opportunities where they can enter the bio-energy market.
“It’s a market that’s thought to be worth about £5billion over the next 20 years,” senior strategic research associate Tom Tomkinson told media outlet This Is Staffordshire last month. “Processing waste in the UK is a big industry, and it’s not just manufacturing firms who could benefit – those who provide professional and technical services, such as planning and environmental work, could too.”
Transforming mill waste into energy is a practice found in pulp and paper mills around the globe, but for companies in this region of England there could be other opportunities Tomkinson said.
“Processing biomass is similar to processing ceramic materials, so there are companies round here who are involved in ceramic processing, engineering, metalwork, fabrication and welding that could all benefit from the bio-energy market just by diversifying slightly,” he said. “It’s a complex market, not something you can just fall into, and RESCO can help.”
Several UK have already benefited from this government-funded program. According to This Is Staffordshire, Longton-based CDS Group – which has traditionally specialised in designing, manufacturing and installing drying solutions for the ceramics, glass and concrete industries – has developed a new steam drying system called R-O2 and has won an order from an Italian firm which is to use the dryers as it processes agricultural waste into energy.
Other companies such as Air Management and Design have used RESCO to increase their focus on the recycling and renewable market.