AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough, has welcomed its first international shipment of renewable energy pellets.

The vessel was loaded with 7,000 tonnes of recyclable fuel pellets, which were processed by Waste Knot Energy (WKE) at their newly commissioned processing plant and storage facilities, located at Port of Middlesbrough.

The waste-to-energy pellets are created by recycling old industrial plastics. They are processed and the plastics are removed and then dried to become Solid Improved Recovered Fuel (SIRF). The pellets are used as an alternative to coal, producing green energy whilst contributing to a circular economy.

Charlie Nettle, AV Dawson’s group managing director, said: “Securing this exciting new project at Port of Middlesbrough is a big win, not only for AV Dawson but also for Teesside. This revolutionary new product is supporting the journey to net zero by enabling businesses to transition from fossil fuels to a new source of green fuel. Attracting this project to Port of Middlesbrough is also contributing to Teesside’s wider positioning as a hub for green energy.

“Having built a first-of-its-kind processing facility back in 2021 and a purpose-built storage warehouse, especially for the project, it’s great to finally see the first international shipment being exported. This project is over two years in the making, so this is a very proud moment for us and WKE to see it come to fruition.”

It’s fascinating to be involved in these new green fuel and waste-to-energy sectors as they develop and it’s fantastic to now be chartering ships through our ships agency Cockfield Knight and loading these ships at our site, so the pellets can be exported across the world.”

The opening of the plant marks the start of a new chapter for the family firm, as it expands into renewables and recyclables markets, contributing to the port’s environmental focus and green credentials and supporting its Environmental Social Governance (ESG) strategy.

WKE CEO Ian Jones said: “This is a huge milestone for us as it represents the completion of commissioning, from the waste arriving at our plant to the product being shipped out.

“We’re ideally located for bulk shipments and we can do anything from 3,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes in a single shipment.

“It’s an exciting time for WKE as we have multiple transfrontier shipments being put in place for new customer trials across a range of industries in 2024, including cement and paper mills in the UK, Europe and further afield.

Charlie continued: “I look forward to seeing the growth of WKE and supporting it with future shipments from Port of Middlesbrough. Construction of this processing plant and storage facility was part of a £10M masterplan to invest further in our port facility. We will continue investing in our site and our quayside to accommodate larger vessels carrying a wide range of cargo, especially dry bulk.”

“While we continue to work with long term customers in our traditional markets for dry bulk and break-bulk cargo, we also need to diversify into new markets. We’re focusing particularly on new dry bulk markets as we have recently invested in further capacity in our rail terminals, so we are able to offer customers a seamless port and rail logistics solution.”