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Steven's Croft Power Station

The UK's largest dedicated biomass power station is located at Steven's Croft, 2½ miles (4 km) north northwest of Lockerbie, on a site which was already occupied by sawmills and timber-processing facilities and well-served by the adjacent West Coast Mainline Railway. The first electricity was generated in 2007 and the station was officially opened on 27th March 2008 by First Minister Alex Salmond (b.1954), representing an important employer in the area. Steven's Croft is owned and operated by E.ON UK Renewables Ltd. It was built at a cost of £90 million by a consortium of Siemens Power and Kvaerner, with engineering group Mott MacDonald providing project management. £18 million of the cost came in the form of a Bioenergy Capital Grant from the National Lottery. Construction work began in October 2005 and comprised the power station itself, a fuel processing facility and a 16-mile (26-km) underground electrical cable, transmitting power at 33 kV to a substation at the former Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station near Annan. The cable was routed through a passage which had to be drilled beneath the M74 motorway.

The station generates 44 megawatts of power by burning 475,000 tons of sustainable wood each year. This fuel comprises a mixture of locally-sourced sawmill waste and short-rotation willow coppice, together with recycled fibre from the manufacture of wood products. This is burnt highly efficiently despite its high water content, providing steam for a turbine at 537°C (1000°F) and 137 bar (1987 lbs / sq. inch) pressure. Kvaerner supplied the fluidised-bed boiler, fuel-handling system and flue gas cleaning equipment, while Siemens was responsible for the steam turbine.

The boiler house, turbine hall and other buildings are of steel-frame construction on a foundation of concrete slabs. The boiler house stands 46m (151 feet) above its surroundings and the chimney is 85m (279 feet) in height.

The on-site fuel processing facility chips the willow-coppice, low-grade and scrap timber, and blends this with the other fuels before passing the resulting mix to the power-plant by overhead conveyor. It has storage for up to fourteen days supply of timber and up to 6000 cu. m (211,888 cu. feet) of chipped fuel. Dried wood chips are transferred into a concrete hopper 60m (197 feet) in length. Along each side of this hopper is a slot, measuring 48m (157 feet) long and 1.2m (4 feet) deep. This connects to a concrete tunnel containing an Archimedes screw. The chips are pushed through the slots and carried into the furnace at a rate of 235 cu. m (8300 cu. feet) per hour. A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products, who run an adjacent timber-processing business, are responsible for the management of fuel supplies.

Steven's Croft won the Best Renewable Project Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards in 2007 and is claimed that it will save 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


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