8 NOVEMBER 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Construction starts at Hooton gasification plant

Aviva Investors has acquired the 240,000 tonnes capacity gasification facility which is being developed by CoGen in Hooton, Cheshire.

The purchase of the Hooton Bio Power facility by the Aviva asset management business comes in conjunction with the start of construction at the site this week.


The facility is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2021. According to Aviva, it will be the first project in Europe to use gasification technology provided by Japanese firm Kobelco Eco Solutions. And, it is also the first time the UK market will realise a gasification plant of this size, based on fluidised bed technology, CoGen notes.

Below:  An artist’s impression of the Hooton Bio Power facility

The Hooton Bio Power facility will be the fifth energy from waste (EfW) project from renewable energy developer CoGen and will be the first non-subsidised merchant gasification facility, the company says.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project will be delivered by power facility specialist, Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC). BWSC will be awarded a full turnkey build contract as well as a contract to operate and maintain the facility for 15 years.

BWSC has previously built nine biomass-fuelled power facilities in the UK, most of which it also operates.

CoGen is overseeing the construction and operation of the facility as project manager on behalf of the project company. In addition, CoGen has a contract to fully manage the facility during the operational period.


Hooton Bio Power will be fuelled by “locally-sourced waste” using 240,000 tonnes of RDF each year supplied via a 15-year feedstock supply agreement (with an option for a further 10 years) with N+P Group (see letsrecycle.com story). It is expected to generate more than 200 GWh of electricity annually, according to CoGen.

Neville Roberts, managing director or the UK business, N&P Alternative Fuels Ltd, said the company has had interest from both councils and SMEs in contracts to supply the plant. Now that the plant has reached financial close, the next step for N&P will be to secure those contracts.

And, Mr Roberts said the company was keen to hear from local authorities and businesses interested in new contracts. “We want to engage with the best partners,” he added.

The facility will be developed on the Peel Environmental site, Hooton Park, the second Peel site on which CoGen will deliver a gasification plant. The first in the ongoing partnership was the recently commissioned 21.5MW Ince Bio Power plant at Protos in Cheshire (see letsrecycle.com story).

“We believe this transaction will create a positive legacy for the local community; converting waste into a resource that can offset the use of other fossil fuels and provide cost-effective, renewable power for local businesses.”

Allan Vlah
Aviva Investors

Commenting on the acquisition, Allan Vlah, director, Infrastructure Equity, Aviva Investors, said: “This project is an excellent example of our investment philosophy: working with market leaders in their respective fields, investing in a premiere technology with a proven track record, and structuring contracts to deliver a project designed from the ground up to produce the long-term, inflation-indexed cash flows valued by our investors.”

Ian Brooking, chief executive, COGEN, said: “The completion of the Hooton Bio Power deal represents a significant milestone for the UK Energy from Waste sector. The project underpins CoGen’s longer-term plans of developing regional scale merchant gasification facilities across the UK. We look forward to following the approach we took with Hooton as we begin to roll out more projects in our pipeline.”

Aviva Investors

Aviva Investors – the global asset management business of Aviva plc – says it has over £7 billion of infrastructure assets under management. The Hooton Bio Power transaction is the fourth equity investment in biomass/EfW by Aviva Investors. These include projects to develop biomass plants in Boston and Barry (see letsrecycle.comstory).