SAE provides update of Uskmouth biomass conversion

By SIMEC Atlantis Energy | August 24, 2018

SIMEC Atlantis Energy, a diversified sustainable energy generation company, is delighted to provide an operational update for its flagship 220 MW conversion project in Uskmouth, Wales. Post conversion, the station will export 220 MW of baseload power to the grid using an end-of-waste energy pellet with an average calorific value of 20 mega joules per kg. The conversion is expected to take 18 months post completion of front end engineering and design (FEED) with a target of first production in Q4 2020 and the converted station will have an operational life of 20 years.

Successful milling trials have been conducted on the N+P Subcoal pellets using vertical spindle roller mills in Germany. Subcoal pellets, which are made from a combination of biogenic waste and non-recyclable plastic, will replace coal-fired generation at SAE’s Uskmouth facility in Wales. The promising results of the milling trials will inform the final design of the combustion system which will be retrofitted to the existing power station.

Since SAE completed the acquisition of Uskmouth Power Station on June 15, 2018, the following progress has been made on the conversion project:

- Ernie Rowe, previously conversion manager at Drax, has commenced as head of conversion at Uskmouth

- FEED contract tender has been issued to the market with a final contract decision expected in the coming weeks

- Pre-FEED combustion testing and computational fluid dynamic modelling has been undertaken by RJM Consultants to determine fuel combustion characteristics which includes optimum fuel particle size

- Planning and site environmental permit work for the conversion is progressing well, this includes working  closely with Dutch fuel pellet supplier N+P Group for the design and build of pellet production facilities at the Uskmouth project site

- Planning is progressing to upgrade local road access and rail line spurs into the project site

In addition, SAE believes that the conversion of the Uskmouth power station from coal to waste derived Subcoal fuels can act as a prototype for a pipeline of future conversions globally. The Ccompany is already in discussions with plant owners and operators in Europe, Australia, Asia and the U.S. with respect to future conversions to extend the economic life of power generation facilities, maintaining employment, keeping baseload on the grid and addressing the issue of non-recyclable plastics whilst reducing landfill.

“This is a world leading project which we will be working to deliver on time and within projected budget,” Rowe said. “We are looking forward to announcing the award of the FEED contract and following FEED, we will be tendering for the EPC contract ahead of what is anticipated to be an 18 month construction process. This project is of huge international interest; with governments and utilities around the world being forced to close down coal-fired power stations, this conversion will offer a new alternative to decommissioning.”

 Tim Cornelius, chief executive of SAE, commented, “The Uskmouth conversion project has a 20 year power purchase agreement and a 20 year fuel supply agreement in place and will have a lower levelized cost of generation which will allow us to deliver high margins on power sales. This should be a very profitable project for the SAE Group once it is operational in 2020.

“This project will be the catalyst for further conversions throughout Europe as SAE seeks to establish itself as a leading independent sustainable energy generation company. Cash flow generated from high margin projects such as Uskmouth will allow us to fund growth through carefully selected and executed acquisitions in addition to our existing portfolio of in-house developments and organic growth opportunities.”