Aberthaw Power Station – successful upgrade improves performance

This week saw the completion of a major project to fit new boiler technology to one of three generating units at Aberthaw Power Station. The important upgrade has significantly reduced emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and improved the station’s overall environmental performance

The large scale project took over 1 million man hours to complete and at its peak saw nearly 1000 people on site. It was an extremely challenging feat, requiring huge attention to safety due to the extremely limited working space on the front and rear of the boiler.

The technology used, known as ‘Low NOx’ boiler technology, involves carrying out changes to the combustion system including burners, combustion air ports and milling plant operation. These changes in combustion conditions minimiseas far as possible the formation of Nitrogen Oxides within the boiler.

Back in December RWE had confirmation that Aberthaw Power Station, along with other sites, had been successful in the UK’s second Capacity Market Auction. This annual auction is held by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and awards a contract for generators to be available to generate in four years’ time. This contract requires Aberthaw to be available to generate until at least September 2020.

Following this news, it has been confirmed that Aberthaw will operate within the UK’s Transitional National Plan as part of the Industrial Emissions Directive, which regulates all power plant operations from 2016. Aberthaw had previously opted for compliance with the Limited Life Derogation (LLD) an option that could have limited the station’s life.

Richard Little, Aberthaw Station Manager commented, “We see the latest investment in low NOx boiler technology as a vital part of the future of the power station. Power has been generated on this site for over 60 years. We are committed to continuing to be a vital part of the UK’s energy system, helping to provide secure supplies for everyone at work and home.

“This year will continue to be challenging. Market conditions remain very difficult for power generation, but I am confident that we will deliver. I am also committed to maintaining our close links with our local community.”