Japanese company Nippon Steel is marketing a biomass plant which can convert waste wood into gas.

The process works by grinding scrap timber into small chips and chemically reacting them with oxygen to produce a mixed gas which can then be used as a fuel for electricity generation.

Nippon Steel, which is marketing the technology to municipal governments and forest management associations, says the plant can capture 80% of the calorific value of the original wood, making it up to five times as efficient as a wood burning system which generates power.