Graham Construction to design, build UK pellet handling facility

By Associated British Ports | April 26, 2013

Graham Construction has been appointed to undertake the design and construction of a major new facility for importing, storing, and onward transfer of renewable fuels (wood pellets) at Associated British Ports’ Port of Immingham. The port is already the U.K.’s largest handler of dry bulk cargo, and the development of the Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal will put Immingham at the forefront of the developing supply chain in renewable power generation from biomass.

Once completed, the 11.5-acre facility will be a fully automated bulk-handling terminal that will handle biomass for the region’s power generating industry. The terminal will have the capability of handling around three million metric tons each year, and be able to store up to 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets.  Four storage silos will have a total capacity of 168,000 cubic meters; equivalent to over 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The IRFT facility will support the planned transformation of three of Drax’s six coal-fired generating units at the Selby power station to biomass-fuelled units, in line with the U.K. government’s climate change targets.The design and construction project comprises:

- Provision of continuous ship unloaders for offloading the wood pellets from ships

- Conveyor systems – circa 1.2km of conveyors

- Storage facilities – capable of storing 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets

- Road vehicle loading facility

- Rail load-out facility

- Extensive safety systems required to ensure safe handling of wood pellets

The GRAHAM team includes Ramboll, which brings extensive experience of designing biomass handling facilities in mainland Europe; local consultant HBPW Consulting; materials handling contractors Whitwick Engineering; and local electrical firm Lectec Services.

 “We are really pleased to be working with the team at Graham, with whom we have established an excellent relationship through the development of our Grimsby River Terminal for the automotive trade,” said John Fitzgerald, ABP port director Grimsby & Immingham. “Immingham has always been an energy port ever since it opened just over 100 years ago, so it is fitting that the U.K.’s largest, most technically advanced biomass handling terminal will be built here.”

 “This is a major opportunity for Graham, and a project we are delighted to have secured.  Not only is ABP one of our key clients but also the biomass-handling sector is a growing sector and it is one we want to be at the forefront of.  The challenge is now to complete the design and construction of this complex project on program and provide ABP with a plant that meets their requirements,” said Leo Martin, director at Graham.