Helping power station’s green ambitions

A GIANT coal fired power station is going green with the help of technology developed by a Doncaster company.

When Drax power station decided to convert three of its six furnaces from burning nothing but fossil fuel to wood pellets, it needed a system for moving the green fuel from storage silos.

The North Yorkshire power plant turned to Schenck Process UK to develop a system for moving the fuel that avoided the risks of creating high concentrations of dust, which is a major safety issue when using biomass as a fuel.

Schenck, which recently opened a new factory close to the M18 at Thorne, is an expert in pneumatic conveying technology.

The firm is the successor to the Doncaster business that originally invented the Dome Valve, which is the key to safe, efficient and effective pneumatic conveying systems that provide a totally contained, clean and safe working environment by eliminating dust throughout the whole of the fuel feed process.

Schenck’s system has to be able to deliver wood pellets to Drax’s furnaces 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and had to be designed so that it could be installed without resulting in unnecessary downtime during construction of the new fuel plant, ensuring minimal disruption to power generation.

Schenck Process also worked closely with main contractor Shepherd Construction to ensure that the silo storage and associated conveying system fitted seamlessly with its own pneumatic delivery system.

Schenck Process UK is part of the Schenk Process group, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany and counts steel makers, copper smelters, dock yards, and food companies, as well as power plants, as key customers.

The Doncaster operations started out in 1974 as Macawber Engineering and was later acquired by the Scottish-based Clyde Group, changing its name to Clyde Process.

Schenck acquired the business around 18 months ago and has made multimillion pound investements to expand its capacity as it grows its turnover from £25 million to around £45 million.