Lynemouth conversion progresses, Doosan Babcock awarded contract

By Erin Voegele | May 26, 2016

In mid-May, the owner of U.K.-based Lynemouth Power Ltd. issued a brief statement confirming plans to convert the power station to biomass are proceeding according to schedule. Later that month, Doosan Babcock announced it has been awarded a contract to convert the facility, while the Port of Tyne announced it will handle pellets for the facility following its conversion.

EP UK Investments Ltd., a subsidiary of Czech utility Energetický a prumyslový holding (EPH), purchased the Lynemouth facility from RWE Supply and Trading in January, following a December 2015 announcement by the European Commission that U.K. support for the conversion of the facility from coal to biomass complies with EU state aid rules. The station burnt its last coal in late December.  

On May 12, EPH posted a statement to the Lynemouth website confirming biomass conversion plans are proceeding as scheduled. “Most recently, we have signed agreements with our chosen contract partners covering a range of work streams including fuel handling, combustion, electrical systems and controls,” said the company. “This positive development is an important milestone as we move towards taking a Final Investment Decision on the conversion. EPH is delighted with the progress that has been made to date on this important piece of work and we will continue to provide updates in due course.”

A week later, on May 19, U.K.-based engineering firm Doosan Babcock announced it has been awarded the contract to deliver the combustion and emissions systems for the Lynemouth biomass conversion. Under the contract, Doosan Babcock will deliver the complete scope of boiler works, including the modification of mills and electrostatic precipitators, and the replacement of fans, a low NOx combustion system and ash handling systems.

Following conversion of the plant’s three 140 MW boilers to biomass, the facility will consume approximately 1.4 million metric tons of wood pellets annually for the next 10 years.

According to information released by Doosan Babcock, the company has played an instrumental role in the development of the Lynemouth conversion project. In mid-2013, the company was awarded the initial front end engineering design (FEED) study, before being selected as preferred bidder in October 2014. Over the last two year, the company has conducted full-scale development and testing of the biomass burner at its clean combustion test facility in Renfrew, U.K.

“The signing of the Lynemouth coal-to-biomass conversion project provides a major reference for Doosan Babcock’s low-carbon energy technologies, as well as a major step forward in the supply of secure, clean energy for U.K. consumers,” said Andrew Hunt, CEO of Doosan Babcok. “We are delighted to be working with our customer EPH on this high profile venture.” 

Also in May, the U.K.-based Port of Tyne announced plans to start building new facilities to store, handle and transport pellets for the Lynemouth facility. The port said it has secured the agreement to handle, store and transport up to 1.8 million metric tons of wood pellets annually once the conversion is complete.

 According to the port, construction has begun on its estate at the Tyne Dock in South Shields to build a 75,000 metric ton storage facility, three enclosed conveyors and transfer towers, three silos, a rail loading silo and other works. The Port of Tyne is contributing £13 million ($18.99 million), with the majority of the investment being made by LPL.