Sutherland business invests £100,000 in new treatment plant

A north east of Scotland business has completed an investment which is tipped to provide local construction firms with access to vital resources without clocking up huge supply chain mileages.

Sustainable biomass supplier and timber products specialist GMG Energy has installed, at a cost in excess of £100,000, a new preservation chamber which will supply locally manufactured wood to enterprises which require treated and stress-tested products.

The Sutherland-based business commissioned the 5,500 gallon vessel, which handles more than 440 cubic feet of timber in each three-and-a-half hour treatment session, enhancing the company’s current annual output of 70,630 cubic feet of timber product and widening its range of products.

The treatment vessel is fully automated having a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) based control system which controls the pumps and pneumatically actuated valves.

Malcolm Morrison, director of GMG Energy, said, “Until now, local companies which needed this type of timber product have had to order from suppliers who, in some cases, were hundreds of miles away. The vessel is enclosed within an existing building to enhance safe operation and a bund ensures that any accidental spillage will be contained.

“The vessel is loaded with wood and the door closed. It is first subjected to a vacuum which opens up the pores of the wood. The vessel is then filled with an aqueous solution of preserving agent and pressurised. This suffuses the wood with the agent which will prevent deterioration for many years.

“I was very impressed by the professional approach of the engineers from Axiom who designed and installed the automated control system and particularly with our technical advisor, Dick Hart, a highly experienced chemical engineer who has spent over 45 years in the energy sector managing projects all over the world. It was Dick who project-managed the design, construction and commissioning of the whole plant. He was very patient, wanted to do everything correctly and added value at all stages.”

The facility is the latest initiative by GMG Energy as it invests to reduce its carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. It has just spent in excess of £70,000 to install a 100-panel solar array on the roof of its main production shed which will, in time, be its primary source of energy.