Ferrybridge power station demolition milestone for UK energy
Around 100 homes near the demolition site were evacuated, as people gathered to watch four cooling towers destroyed.
Demolition at Ferrybridge C Power Station in West Yorkshire has begun in what's been described as a "significant milestone" in UK energy.
People from around 100 homes near the demolition site were evacuated, as a crowd gathered to watch four cooling towers be destroyed.
Roads near the towers were closed during the controlled explosion - the Ferrybridge C Power Staton sits at the junction of the A1(M) and M62, just south of Ferrybridge village.
The demolition of the towers, which stood at 374ft (114m) high, took around 10 seconds.
The West Yorkshire power station provided the UK with energy for 50 years, before its owners, SSE, closed the plant in March 2016, believing it to have no longer been economical. Ferrybridge C Power Station in West Yorkshire was commissioned by the Central Electricity Generating Board and was built between 1962 to 1968. The ‘C’ Station was the third power station to be built at Ferrybridge. The ‘A’ Station building remains and is now used by RWE as their national heavy engineering facility. The ‘B’ Station was demolished after its closure in 1992.
In addition to the main generating units, Ferrybridge C Power Station was built with four gas turbines with a combined capacity of 68 MW. Two of the four gas turbines were retired in the late 1990s, reducing their capacity to 34 MW.
Coal was supplied initially via barges on the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal, utilising a barge tippler capable of unloading 210 ton barges in nine minutes. The tippler was retired in the late 1990s and an automated system was built to receive deliveries via rail.
Cooling water was drawn from the River Aire and after circulating through the power station, was cooled using the station’s 8 cooling towers. The towers were 115m high. The plant had two 198m chimneys. Ash was transported as a slurry via underground pipeline to the Gale Common Ash Disposal Site.
Flu Gas Desulphurisation was fitted to units 3 and 4 in 2009. This allowed those units to meet the requirements of the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), while units 1 and 2 were closed on 28th March 2014. In 2013 SSE announced the station would opt out of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive. Ferrybridge C generated its last electricity on 23rd March 2016. The reasons stated were “irreparable damage” caused by a major fire in 2014, and that the station was now a loss-making operation, predicted to lose £100 million over the following five years.
It's the second controlled explosion at the plant this year, with eight towers destroyed in July.
The final three towers are being kept in case a decision is made to convert the site into a new gas-fired power station.
Demolition work at the site is expected to be completed by summer 2021 and is part of SSE's move to reducing its carbon output.
The company plans to cut the carbon intensity of its electricity in half by 2030.
Opening in 1966, Ferrybridge C became the first power station in Europe to succeed in generating electricity from a 500-megawatt machine.
The station also made the record books in 1973 when one of its generators set a world record by running non-stop for over 5,400 hours and generating 2,999 gigawatt hours.