Green 'super-kettle' generator promises Thistle £40m turnover in three years

AN AMERICAN invention that turns waste heat into electricity by operating like a "super-kettle", has been licensed by a Scottish energy company, which aims to turn over £40 million within the next three years by manufacturing the devices for the European market.

Thistle Energy – a spin-out company from family-owned Thistle Generators in Bothwell, Lanarkshire – will initially sell Electra Therm's "green machine" in the UK but also has plans to assemble it in Scotland before the end of the year.

Managing director Nigel Feeney said that after Thistle sells 50 units in the UK, which will be made in the US, it will gain a licence to assemble them in Scotland for sale in Europe.

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Electra Therm will then sign up distributors in other European countries, with orders being fulfilled through Thistle. Feeney said he aimed to sell about 150 units before the end of the year, generating about 20m.

He hopes to reach the 50 mark by mid-year and is already in talks with customers – including "a waste management company and a high street retailer" – that could place orders for hundreds of machines. Within the next three years, he hopes to grow annual revenue to about 40m by installing between 200 and 250 machines in the UK each year. The potential in Europe is larger, he said.

Thistle expects to create about an extra 15 jobs by the end of the year and, if uptake is high, the number could "rise dramatically".

The green machine is designed to work on industrial machinery that runs round the clock, such as generators or incinerators that give off waste heat.

The device operates in a similar way to a kettle on a stove. Waste heat from industrial machinery boils a fluid inside the device, which in turn drives a generator to produce electricity.

That could then be fed into the National Grid and sold at a profit or, in the offshore market, could be used to power operations such as accommodation barges.

He said the typical installation cost for fitting a green machine onto a one megawatt landfill gas generator was about 170,000 and that the device could pay for itself within about 18 months through the profit made by selling the electricity and through UK Government incentives, such as the climate-change levy and enhanced capital allowances.

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