Six spiral seam tanks for bio-energy plant

Paul Boughton

Lipp Systems UK has installed six new spiral seam tanks at a new bio-energy plant development in Wakefield, Yorkshire, UK. These include three large 1,340m2 capacity anaerobic digestion tanks, an aeration tank, a buffer tank and finally a water processing tank.

The new containers aim to produce enough biogas to power 3000 local homes. As a by-product the system will also create soil conditioner for agricultural use.

The Wakefield site has been designed to process green waste - household and commercial food and plant materials, with the capacity to receive and digest over 65,000 tons per year.

The new tank installations form part of the South Kirby Anaerobic Digestion Plant, the green waste section of the Wakefield project. In its entirety, the site aims to recycle and reclaim 90% of the 230,000 tons of household waste it will receive per year.

The main contractor for the Wakefield project specified Lipp Systems tanks due to their performance and safety credentials.

All tanks are constructed from the ground upwards with apertures and equipment attached at close to ground level requiring comparably little work to be conducted at high elevation. Unlike a segmented tank, workers will not be on scaffolding or ropes fitting hundreds of nuts and bolts.

A primary concern with the storage of any media is the integrity of the containment unit itself; escaping contents or odours present an issue that can require large outlays to correct. 

The Lipp Double Fold System however effectively guarantees total integrity. Steel bands are spiral formed and folded twice over at the edges with a content appropriate stainless steel inner skin and galvanised steel outer skin sandwiching sealant between the two.

As a result, no attachable surfaces are available for corrosion to form from the aggressive waste inside. This provides structural strength with maximum reliability and safety.

Close positioning of the tanks at Wakefield required construction operations within a relatively small space. Luckily, the erection of each tank is carried out with space saving as a primary concern.

Construction is mostly automated, with steel bands being added underneath the roof of the container, raising the structure from the bottom up. This Spiral Seamed Technology enables a relatively straightforward and speedy construction process.

Further benefits of this building method include variable container diameters depending on client specifications with low assembly and investment costs. Structural rigidity was also paramount for the project. By combining different steel compounds with strong interconnected bonds, the containers have an extremely long operating life with no structural degradation. The tanks are highly resistant to horizontal pressure, greatly reducing the likelihood of failure.


Lipp Systems UK - Wakefield