HAMPSHIRE County Council has said it will trial new ways to process the wood it receives from tips to reduce costs and carbon emissions.

The council receives more than 30,000 tonnes of wood at its household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) every year, which requires transport, processing, and recycling.

The council said this costs it around £2.3 million a year.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire County CouncilHampshire County Council (Image: Supplied)

The wood contract is currently held by Veolia and was let as part of the tip management contract in 2016. However, the existing deal runs until October 2024.

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Due to volatility and weather conditions, biomass production “has been impossible” because the council has limitations on producing and storing the biomass on site, it said.

Over the last year, Veolia has invested in its wood-handling site at Down End near Fareham. A number of bays have been developed on-site to enable the inbound wood and outbound biomass to be stored in a way that complies with the fire prevention requirements.

In addition, work has been undertaken to develop a shredding process for the wood to achieve the necessary standards required to create a suitable biomass product.

Biomass energy is a renewable and cost-efficient energy source generated from burning wood, plants and other organic matter.

The trial will see all of the wood delivered to the tips transported either directly or via a waste transfer station to the site at Down End, where it will then be stored before shredding.

The shredding process will take place under cover to manage dust production, and the resulting biomass will be stored on-site in the bays, ready for transportation to market.

Veolia has rented the shredding equipment and temporary structure for the trial period to mitigate potential risks if the trial is unsuccessful.

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The trial will start on May 1, and run for an initial period of six months until October 31. During this period, it is estimated that it will deliver a saving of circa £10 per tonne, which would equate to a full-year saving of around £300,000 to the County Council.

The council report said that the trial process will process wood waste into biomass, which will be used as “a low carbon fuel avoiding the need for fossil alternatives” and will reduce carbon emissions.

It added: “The market for wood recycling is volatile and can be expensive, and therefore, the most sustainable option overall is to ensure that this waste stream is used to create a product suitable for biomass.”