£100m turbine upgrade nears completion

Paul Boughton
Drax Power Station is a month away from completing the largest steam turbine modernisation programme in UK history, thereby increasing its overall efficiency and reinforcing its position as the most efficient coal-fired power station in the UK.
The project, which has taken five years to complete and cost £100 million, will enable Drax Power Station to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) by one million tonnes a year, equivalent to taking 275,000 cars off the road. The increased overall efficiency of almost 40 per cent will also improve reliability and availability in generation output, delivering greater value to the business.
Siemens AG was awarded the £100 million contract to modernise all six units at the power station in 2007. Over the subsequent five year period, together Drax and Siemens have replaced the low pressure and high pressure turbines on all six units at the power station. The new turbines, manufactured by Siemens Germany, consist of 28 separate turbine rotors weighing over 2,800 tonnes, and over 80,000 individualised turbine blades, which, laid end-to-end would stretch the distance of the London marathon.
The successful completion of the upgrade reflects the strength of the unique, industry-leading relationship between Drax and Siemens in Newcastle and in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany. Employees from both companies worked together as a united team to implement the project whilst ensuring minimum disruption to electricity generation at Drax. The combined team effort enabled the project to move forward smoothly to final delivery.
Commenting on the project Peter Emery, Production Director at Drax said: “The £100 million investment by Drax in this project demonstrates our continued commitment to delivering leading operational performance. The completion of this project makes our turbines amongst some of the most efficient in the world and its successful completion is due to our excellent collaborative relationship with Siemens in Newcastle and Germany. As the UK’s largest coal-fired power station, we take our responsibility to cut carbon emissions seriously and this project marks a significant milestone in our efforts to do that.”
Darren Davidson, Head of Projects Energy Service Fossil, Siemens Newcastle said: “We are delighted to have been part of this key project for Drax, and to have contributed to its carbon emission reduction and efficiency targets so significantly. Over the past five years, each unit has been delivered successfully and on schedule. We have worked with Drax from the start of the tendering phase, helping to bring to light issues relating to the sustainability of the plant, and together during the project execution work to deliver improvements in design through to installation to achieve project objectives.”
For more information, visit www.draxgroup.plc.uk

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