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Drax Power Station upgrades to improve efficiency
DRAX Power Station is to upgrade three more of its turbines to improve the power plant’s efficiency as it converts to burn predominantly biomass rather than coal.
The company has awarded the contract to Siemens Energy Service Fossil in Newcastle, which last year completed a five-year £100 million project to upgrade the high pressure and low pressure turbine modules of all six generating units at Drax.
The new contract includes three intermediate pressure (IP) turbines, which will be fitted as a module to make them easier to install and reduce the duration of the outage required. Each module will weigh 63.5 tonnes and has 26 rows of blades.
The power station is investing £700 million in converting its plant near Selby, the largest coal-fired plant in the UK, to burn biomass, such as willow and straw. It expects to convert its first generating unit to biomass by next month, followed by a second in April next year.
Peter Emery, production director at Drax, said the turbine modernisation project had so far increased the overall efficiency of the power station to almost 40 per cent and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by a million tonnes per year. Mr Emery said: “We have taken the decision to upgrade the intermediate pressure turbines of the three generating units that are to be converted to burn sustainable biomass in place of coal. This will optimise the efficiency of those units by helping to offset any loss in efficiency experienced as a result of the change in fuel diet.
“The project builds on the success of the major turbine upgrade programme completed last year and underlines our commitment to delivering leading operational performance in power generation.”
The first module is scheduled to be installed in 2014 with project completion in 2015.