Local growers and NFU visit new straw-fired power station

The plant's straw bale storage area.

The plant's straw bale storage area.

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Local growers and NFU staff have visited the new straw-fired power station at Sleaford.

Following extensive discussions about managing straw supply and demand, it was agreed there is no substitute for “actually being on-site and seeing how agricultural biomass is turned into heat and electric power”.

The group heard how developer Eco2 is already letting contracts for its next two powers stations, one further north in Lincolnshire and one in Norfolk, both due in 2016.

A variety of straw bale types are accepted, from 15-25 per cent moisture content, and Eco2 is encouraging suppliers to seek other outlets for tops and bottoms of straw stacks.

Four straw feeders and bale breakers despatch straw into the furnace, driving a single turbine which exports power at 132 kilovolts.

In addition to cereal straw, the power plant will also burn wood chip, and is due to host trials of oilseed rape straw, which it hopes to use widely.