Onnu Green Hubs Launch Press Release
How building carbon removal capacity can solve local ecological damage to the River Wye
Onnu to build 16 pyrolysis Hubs in Wye Valley in UK’s largest carbon removal project
Will prevent phosphorous run-off and turn a problem into a revenue stream for farmers
Multimillion pound investment will create 100+ new Greentech jobs
Greentech firm Onnu has announced plans to build the first of 16 pyrolysis hubs in the Wye Valley. Onnu will buy waste biomass from local poultry farmers and transform it into biochar. Once all 16 hubs are completed, they will annually sequester over 500,000 tons of carbon – which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere – making this the UK’s biggest carbon removal initiative. The multimillion-pound investment, spread over four years, will create more than 100 Greentech jobs and will end the land-spreading that has caused well-documented damage to the River Wye and surrounding areas.
Disposal of poultry litter has become problematic and expensive due to the public outcry over the impact of phosphorous run-off on local eco-systems and stricter regulatory controls on land-spreading. “By using this waste biomass as a pyrolysis feedstock, we turn a problem into a revenue stream for local farmers,” said Giles Welch, CEO of Onnu. “The resulting biochar will be used as a safe and transportable organic fertiliser forming part of a circular economy in UK agriculture. This is the only genuinely sustainable solution to the problems facing the Wye Valley.”
Onnu will open an office in the Herefordshire area later this year with six staff, including two land acquisitions experts. The company has already identified four potential locations for its first site which is planned to start operating in April, 2024. “These hubs will be no larger than a typical barn and are completely self-contained, self-sustaining units with underground storage,” explained Welch. “They will create no discernible noise or odours so their operation will have no impact on the surrounding areas.”
Onnu plans to build these 16 hubs across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys by 2027. They will each be strategically located a few minutes’ drive from several dozen local poultry farmers to minimise traffic to and from the site. Each hub, consisting of two pyrolysis machines, can process 10,000 tonnes of waste biomass each year: once all 16 hubs are built, 1.6 million tonnes of waste biomass would be processed annually, sufficient to account for all the poultry litter produced in the Wye Valley catchment.
Onnu is registered with the Puro.Earth carbon registry and biochar from the Wye Valley hubs will qualify for CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs). Once each site is operational for 10 years, the project is expected to have generated 350,000 tons of biochar and 580,000 CORCs. The proceeds from the sale of these will ensure that the hubs are cash-generative and will also be shared with the farmers through the purchase of their waste biomass.
Onnu’s ambition is to facilitate the transition to a Net Zero economy by realising the potential of biochar to tackle the world’s toughest decarbonisation challenges. It will achieve this by creating a pyrolysis-based Greentech industry that ensures waste biomass is processed in ways that are affordable, readily available – and acceptable to the public and the regulatory authorities. In the pursuit of that ambition, Onnu aims to build 100 pyrolysis-based energy hubs over the next decade.
Iain Halpin – Head of Communications