Current region > Poland
Building work underway at £16.5m bioenergy centre
Building work has started at Aston University’s new £16.5m engineering laboratories, which will showcase and develop renewable low carbon technologies.
John Sisk & Son and Aston University held a ground breaking event with key representatives, to mark the beginning of work on the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), on Monday (November 14th).
The facility, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Aston University, itself powered by renewable energy, will include pilot scale photo bioreactors harnessing algae, and a 0.4MWel small scale industrial power plant. The Plant will generate heat and power from biomass, including sewage sludge, wood, algae and agricultural waste.
John Sisk & Son will be constructing the new building on Aston University’s campus in Birmingham. The contract, worth £7.5m will take approximately 54 weeks to complete and will involve fitting the extensive mechanical and electrical installations required for the biomass plant and the specialist equipment needed for its bioenergy research. This research will include generating biomass by-products including hydrogen power for low carbon vehicles or fuel cells and Biochar for use as an agricultural fertiliser and a source for decentralised hydrogen production.
The new EBRI building will use the best of old and new in its design, retaining the original building’s historic 1920s façade and combining with modern glass fronted laboratories. The EBRI building was originally a cinema and later became the BBC’s regional drama studios in the 1940s.
Professor Andreas Hornung, Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute, said: “EBRI’s new £16.5m laboratories will showcase to industry how we can produce real-life solutions to tackling waste, with both environmental and financial benefits. One of our long-term research aims is to create a ‘thermal ring’ of small scale industrial power plants around Birmingham. This could divert biodegradable waste away from landfill and incineration and feed energy back into the National Grid.”
Kim Shevyn, Regional Construction Director for John Sisk & Son, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for our Birmingham team. Not only will we be delivering a challenging project that requires some highly specialist skills but we have the chance to contribute to the University’s work towards developing low carbon technologies. As a family owned and run company we are committed to working in a sustainable way and it’s great to be part of such a pioneering project.”