Articles & Case Studies

Biomass handling

Posted: Friday 17th October 2008

When Ferrybridge Power Station, part of Scottish and Southern Energy’s UK operation, decided to investigate powering its vast boilers with organic, carbon neutral “biomass” fuel, the UK’s leading bulk storage and handling systems specialist, Portasilo Bulk Handling Systems, was identified as the perfect partner to deliver the solution.

Biomass fuel is a volatile and potentially explosive material, that requires specialist skills and equipment to store, handle and burn safely. Portasilodeveloped a tailored handling system to address the unique challenges of the Ferrybridge site, incorporating high-performance components from across its

product range.

The biomass wood pellets are delivered into tipping booths, from where six Portasilo Augerflo variable-speed feeders transfer the product into a pipe conveyor. This fully enclosed conveyor protects the volatile pellets from moisture and is ideal for transporting material over long distances. After travelling for half a kilometre in this pipe, the pellets are deposited into a 5,000m3 intermediate storage silo.

Because of the material’s potentially explosive nature, Portasilofitted more than 120m2 of explosion relief vents to the existing silo roof.

The silo is fitted with an advanced hydraulically driven rotating screw extractor, which sweeps the 14-metre base to collect material from the full silo cross-section. From the silo pit a chain conveyor, ideal for explosive materials, feeds the pellets into another pipe conveyor, which transports the material to the boiler house.

Here, two Portasilo900mm diameter screw conveyors feed the pellets into two five-metre diameter day-silos. Screw conveyors are used to achieve a controlled transfer of accurate volumes of material into the silos. The day-silos were constructed at the purpose-built Portasilofacility, which is capable of fabricating very large silos up to 15m in diameter in a single piece, significantly reducing site costs and build time.

The installation of these silos demanded a precision operation, since they had to be lowered into a steel framework by crane with only inches of clearance on all sides. This operation was carefully planned by Portasiloto minimise disruption to the plant.

From the day-silos, biomass is transferred into six disc mills that feed the fuel into new state-of-the-art burners that are required to ignite the fuel. To enable the feed rate from the day-silos to be independently variable, PortasiloOsciflo bin dischargers were used, giving a variable discharge rate of between 0.4 and four tonnes per hour into the mills.

These modifications ensure the silo meets the requirements of ATEX legislation.

The installation and commissioning of the Portasilo equipment was completed on schedule and with no disruption to the normal operation of the plant.

Andrew Mills, Project Manager at Ferrybridge Power Station said: “The advanced system devised by Portasilofulfils all of our requirements and is successfully delivering increased volumes of biomass into our new burners.

“The installation and commissioning of the Portasilo equipment

was completed with no disruption to the normal operation of

the plant.”

The complete solution from Portasiloincluded all platforms and supporting steelwork, as well as full-length gantries along the pipe conveyors to provide full maintenance access.

Tel: 01904 624872

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