TILBURY could soon be home to the world’s largest biomass plant after its power station got permission to start vital works.reports the UK’s Thurrock Gazette.
The RWE N Power station, off Fort Road, is currently coal-fired, but plans to run entirely on wood pellet biomass fuel by the end of the year.
The plant could have a generating capacity of about 750MW, in comparison to 265MW at Alholmens Kraft Power Station in Finland, currently the world’s largest biomass power station.
On Monday, Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation approved the installation of two vacuum ship unloaders on the station’s jetty, the relocation of the old ship unloaders for coal, plans for the extension and enclosure of an existing conveyer junction tower, and a new dust separator and conveyors, all essential for the switch to biomass.
A spokesman for the power station said: “We are delighted we now have the necessary consents in place to develop the option of converting our existing power station.
“Work to convert all three of the station’s units to generate power from sustainably sourced renewable wood pellets until the closure of the power station, by the end of 2015, is now likely to start in the summer.
“The converted plant is expected to be fully operational towards the end of 2011.”
Biomass is considered a much cleaner fuel, substantially reducing the creation of ash.
The power station already uses some biomass fuel in place of coal – under European regulations, the coal-fired station must close by 2015.
The spokesman said the firm is looking at a “range of options” for the power station after this.