UK storage tank manufacturer enters biomass business

By Luke Geiver | May 11, 2012

The largest biopower facility in the U.K. will be the first biomass project for Kirk Environmental, a U.K.-based storage tank manufacturer.

“It is definitely a flagship project and we are looking forward to being involved with more projects of this nature in the future,” said a company spokesperson. The RWE npower facility in Fife, will process roughly 400,000 metric ton of waste wood per year to produce 50 MW. Kirk Environmental is responsible for constructing three woody biomass storage silos that will reach nearly 60 feet. The silos are roughly 65 feet wide and feature a reinforced concrete structure that will hold nearly 5,000 cubic meters.

Saxlund International and Canning Conveyor are both working alongside Kirk Environmental on the storage and handling portion of the project. Saxlund is providing a biomass unloading system and Canning Conveyor is providing a loading conveyance system, all under the supervision of the main engineering and procurement contractor, Jacobs Engineering and Construction. Metso Power is providing the fluidized bed boiler for the project.

The storage silos are nearly complete, but will need to be equipped to handle standard challenges for large storage tank construction jobs, including weather and access on site for machinery. “It is useful to have site managers and team leaders who are initiative and resourceful to coordinate the project in the safest but productive manner,” especially, a company spokesperson said, when there are various contractors working simultaneously. Safety precautions specific to biomass were also taken, such as explosion panels in the roofs of the silos.

The facility is expected to be completed in 2012 and will power a paper mill owned by Tullis Russell, which also owns the biomass construction site. The remainder of the electricity will be sent to the grid. The plant has also recently secured up to 50 percent of the necessary feedstock from waste and recycling company SITA UK.