Pembroke Power Station invests in technology to minimise sea foam

Pembroke Power Station started operating 3 years ago, generating secure electricity for millions of homes, employing over 100 full time local employees and contributing millions of pounds into the local economy.

Part of the process of generating electricity involves using water from the Milford Haven Waterway through the cooling water system. This is the most efficient way of cooling used in the generation of electricity. At certain times of the year there is a noticeable ‘sea foam’ discharged from the cooling water system.

RWE have commissioned a unique and bespoke project to reduce the formation and release of foam from the station. This work is well underway with mechanical installation complete and commissioning due to be completed by the end of 2015. The project involves managing water levels in the cooling water system through the use of four large penstock valves similar to sluice gates.

Andrew Morgan, Pembroke Power Station Manager, said: “We are pleased to have started a project to mitigate the foam from the station, whilst the foam is not harmful in any way we know that it can be unsightly. Pembroke is a fantastic place and we are committed to minimising any impact on the local environment.”

The foam is the same as the sea and beach foam which occurs naturally from time to time. The colour of the foam appears brown, however it is harmless and is not caused by any form of pollution or chemicals.

It is created by the agitation of seawater particularly when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter such as rotten leaves. This can create foam when combined with turbulent conditions that trap air, such as when seawater passes over a weir. Certain natural conditions can make this worse, they include; heavy rain, autumn and leaf fall and high tides.