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Local Business brings back sea freight – to heat hospitals

Cargo containers in storage yardBy Vicky Moller

A Pembrokeshire business has started to transport its products by sea. Pembrokeshire BioEnergy (PBE) started life to supply wood and miscanthus fuel to heat Bluestone holiday village. The group includes farmers who grow the fuel, the transporters and retailers, and an energy supply company. The years since 2003 have seen steady expansion, with wood pellet contracts being won as far afield as Devon. And last week PBE Fuels received the very exciting news that they had won the contract to supply 2500 tonne per year to the NHS.
Dai Rogers describes the interest in wood fuel as only now taking off. “When we started there were three customers, now there are fifty in Pembrokeshire alone including tourist attractions, leisure centres, schools and rectories.
“Winning contracts into South Wales & the west of England presented a problem,” Dai explained, “transporting green fuel by road is not green, it undermines the carbon savings, and it is expensive”.
The company as a matter of policy chose to support our pellet producers in North Wales, Scotland and Ireland rather than importing them. To overcome the excessive driving they commissioned a sea freighter. Only last week their first shipment of 2,500 tons of wood pellets reached Avonmouth, to be collected by their lorries and a local haulier. The pellets are delivered throughout South Wales and the West of England with a large volume coming back to Pembrokeshire. “That way we are delivering on both laps of the journey, saving the huge expense of driving empty lorries. Each ship load saves us and the planet 92,000 road miles.” said Dai.
PBE works with the Pembrokeshire Machinery Ring, to share administration. It is through cooperation and the use of the resources on our doorstep, like the sea, that the company is keeping ahead of the better financed but less resourceful competition.