Scottish and Southern Energy and RockTron Limited have concluded an agreement that will lead to the construction, at SSE's Fiddler's Ferry Power Station in Cheshire, of the first plant in the UK to separate the ash arising from electricity generation into constituent mineral parts for sale as cement substitute products and industrial minerals.

Under the agreement, SSE will acquire one preference share in RockTron and will provide it with a shareholder loan of up to GBP22 million to facilitate the construction of the plant. All of the necessary consents are in place, and construction work is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2007, with the plant becoming fully operational in the summer of 2008.

The plant itself will remove and process all fresh ash produced and all ash currently stored in lagoons at the site over a period of up to 25 years. It will take ash as its raw material and process it into its constituent parts such as fine ash fraction, coarse ash fraction, magnetic fraction, carbon rich fraction and cenospheres. It is expected that the plant will be able to process up to 800,000 tonnes of ash per annum.