Ash processor

Scottish and Southern Energy has acquired 17.5 per cent of the equity in RockTron (Widnes) for £10m.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has bought 17.5 per cent of the equity in RockTron (Widnes) for £10m.

The Bristol-based company is developing a new plant to extract minerals from ash produced at SSE’s Fiddler’s Ferry power station in Cheshire.

The plant will remove and process all fresh ash produced by the power station and much of that currently stored in lagoons at the site.

It will turn it into industrial minerals that will become marketable products, with the largest volume being used as cement substitutes.

It is expected to begin full operation later next year and should be capable of processing about 800,000 tonnes of ash a year.

According to SSE, ash disposal can attract significant environmental liabilities, including landfill duty, if not properly processed.

As well as avoiding such liabilities, the acquisition of equity in RockTron (Widnes) means SSE will be able to secure a share of the income from the plant.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said: ‘The work we have done with RockTron to develop this new plant at Fiddler’s Ferry is just one of the things we have done to reduce the impact on the environment of our coal-fired power stations.

‘This investment is a very good example of how environmental and commercial opportunities coincide and is exactly the kind of initiative I hope we will see more of in the years ahead.’