Case studies

Find out more information about some of Fife’s greenest businesses.

Purvis Group and RWE npower - The Purvis Group and Bowhill

The project at former Fife colliery, Bowhill, to construct a fuel storage and processing depot and then run it to supply material for RWE npower renewables (RWE NRL) biomass CHP plant at Tullis Russell in Markinch could be described as the culmination of a personal and professional ambition for The Purvis Group.  Commissioned by RWE npower renewables, which owns and operates the biomass plant, the development is a timely opportunity for the Lochgelly based Purvis Group to showcase its portfolio of companies and expertise.

The fuel processing depot, estimated to be over £2 million, is scheduled to open for business around June 2012, following a construction period of about seven months.  This was undertaken by Realm Construction – part of The Purvis Group – after a tendering process. All staff and equipment required for the construction are managed by The Purvis Group or one of its companies, resulting in a streamlined operation to construct the 30,000 tonne capacity site. Small round wood logs will be delivered from all over Scotland to the depot for chipping and storage until required in Markinch.  In addition, there will be a staging post at Bowhill for holding and managing recycled wood to help smooth out any peaks and troughs in usage. 

Some 40 to 50 jobs were created during the construction period and once operational there will be six full-time workers on the site.  These will be from Robert Purvis Plant Hire which also won the five year contract to run the depot.

Ian Calvert, RWE npower renewables’ head of Biomass UK said:

“The appointment of the Purvis Group demonstrates again how the Markinch Biomass CHP project continues to aid the local economy.  The biomass CHP plant brings substantial benefits to the community - more than 500 temporary jobs have been created during the construction phase and up to 40 permanent jobs will be created once it is operational."

“The facility at Bowhill will ensure that in the event of disruptions to the normal fuel supply chain, the Markinch Biomass CHP plant will have a backup fuel reserve. The facility will serve the Biomass plant which, once fully operational in mid-2013, will supply all Tullis Russell's steam and electricity requirements and help to secure jobs at the paper mill.”

The concept of a biomass plant at the Tullis Russell paper factory was considered six years ago and details were confirmed in 2008 following the signing of a development agreement between Tullis Russell and RWE npower renewables.

However, The Purvis Group recognised a strategic opportunity that matched their own interest in finding new business sectors which would benefit the company and continue to create local jobs.  The company employs around 400 people almost all of whom live right here in the local area and there is a strong commitment to continue that tradition.

The Purvis Group offered RWE npower renewables not only a fully co-ordinated package of skilled people, equipment and expertise but also the location to build the depot.  Bowhill was bought by The Purvis Group in 1998 as a former colliery and coal washing facility which had fallen into disuse after the closure of the Methil power station.  The 67 acres of unsightly landscape was originally used commercially in a waste aggregates operation and in the past 10 years has been transformed into an extensive recycling facility. Some 50 – 60% of the site has been restored while the remainder generates jobs and economic benefit in the area.  The changes were driven by the personal commitment of company owner, Bob Purvis, to create a useful and sustainable legacy for local people. Nowadays the Bowhill site is an immaculate and highly efficient operation focused on green projects from recycling waste from construction sites to the magnificent timber depot which somehow nestles comfortably into the landscape.  The layout of the site is arranged as a one stop “convenience store” for contractors to drop off waste materials for recycling and pick up new supplies on their way out.  On average the recycling operation handles around 25,000 tonnes per month.

For the company and its local employees there is a sense of satisfaction that what was once a hub of energy and economic creation in Fife has been restored with a 21st century  take – from colliery to recycling.

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