Tanaris and Alcan Aluminium UK have joined forces to develop a biomass combined heat and power station in Scotland, UK that would provide enough electricity for more than 40,000 homes.

The two companies propose to build the combined heat and power (CHP) station on former industrial land owned by Alcan at Lochaber near Fort William. The plant has been designed to operate on wood from locally sourced sustainable forestry.

Tanaris and Alcan hope to begin construction in early 2007, with electricity being generated two years later. When fully operational, the biomass plant would have an output of more than 18MW of electricity.

At the heart of the GBP30 million development is a high efficiency power generation station, which will also supply recovered heat to a neighboring processing plant.

Furthermore, as the scheme develops, other local businesses and private homes may be offered the chance to connect up with the plant for heating and hot water.

The plant is the first of its kind in the UK and the long-term plan is to build similar stations around the country. Tanaris claims that the process used by the plant is environmentally friendly and can take a range of biomass fuels, with the residue from the process being used for fertilizer.

The company also said that the Lochaber scheme will make a significant contribution towards the UK government’s targets for renewable electricity and has major environmental benefits, saving more than 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year from fossil-fuelled power stations.