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Clydesdale Bank is the power behind energy company's expansion


A Dorset recycling company is expanding its services by building a plant to convert food waste into energy, thanks to the financial support of Clydesdale Bank.

Eco Sustainable Solutions of Christchurch has been recycling organic waste such as food, wood and poor quality soil into compost, mulch, topsoil and turf since 1993. Now, it is building an anaerobic digestion plant in Dorchester to turn green waste into heat and power.

Anaerobic Digesters are large tanks into which biodegradable material such as food, vegetable and grease trap wastes are fed. They have a mixing or ‘stirring’ mechanism inside, where naturally occurring microbes break down the waste in the absence of oxygen and turn it into a methane rich gas and a residual sludge, called digestate.

The sludge can be turned into a valuable fertiliser, while the methane gas is used as fuel for engines that power a generator to make electricity.

Construction of the Dorchester plant is due to finish in April. It is being built thanks to a £3 million financial package agreed with Clydesdale Bank’s Southampton Financial Solutions Centre (FSC).

“It’s a new venture for us as up until now we have concentrated solely on recycling,” said Freddie Smyth, Finance Director at Eco Sustainable Solutions. “However, with the incentive of the Green Energy Tariff, it makes commercial sense for companies operating in the green waste sector to diversify in this way.

“The plant is designed to process around 14,000 tonnes of green waste a year and will need additional staff to operate.

“We approached a number of banks in our search for financial support for the new project, and were impressed with Clydesdale’s approach and the flexibility their team at the local FSC seemed to have.

“The whole process of agreeing the package and the finance being put into place has been straightforward and painless – a lot smoother than we thought it would be.”

Now, attention is turning to the development of a £10 million biomass plant, and Eco Sustainable Solutions will again be talking to Clydesdale Bank about a package of financial support.

John Anderson, Managing Partner of Clydesdale Bank’s Southampton FSC, said Eco Sustainable Solutions was exactly the sort of business the bank’s Investing for Growth initiative had been designed to help. The initiative has helped Clydesdale Bank meet its target of £10 billion of new lending for business and personal customers in two years to October 2011, of which £1 billion was earmarked for the South East.

“Our Investing for Growth programme offers benefits such as loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments and extended loan and credit terms and is designed to help businesses take advantage of quality growth opportunities by providing investment finance, increasing cash flow and easing debt commitments,” he said

“At Clydesdale Bank our Business and Credit Partners have autonomy to make lending decisions. This is key when it comes to supporting growing businesses as we can help them take full advantage of business opportunities as and when they arise.

“We would be delighted to talk to any business looking to grow and seeking the right bank to help them achieve their goals.”

Clydesdale Bank’s Southampton Financial Solutions Centre can be found at Mountbatten House, Grosvenor Square, Southampton, SO15 2JU, telephone 02380 714600.

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