Biomass-fired Tilbury Power Station to close

By Erin Voegele | July 09, 2013

RWE npower has announced it is halting work on its 750 MW biomass-fueled Tilbury Power Station while options on project feasibility are assessed and reviewed. According to information released by the company, the facility will close on Oct. 31, as announced under the E.U.’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). 

“It is with regret that we are announcing the decision to halt the Tilbury Biomass project,” said Roger Miesen, chief technical officer of RWE Generation. “This decision has not been taken lightly. Tilbury remains a good site for future generation. RWE still believes that biomass has a role to play in future power generation and will continue to progress options at strategic sites.”

The decision was originally made in 2008 to opt-out the then 1,100 MW coal-fired power plant under the LCPD, meaning the facility would be shut down after either 20,000 hours of operation or the close of 2015. In 2010, RWE made the decision to use the remaining hours of operation to trial the use of 100 percent biomass, which effectively reduced the plant capacity to 750 MW. Prior to switching to all biomass fuel, the facility cofired 10 percent biomass with coal.  The conversion to wood pellet fuel was completed in late 2011. In February 2012, shortly after commissioning was completed, a fire broke out at the plant, primarily impacting Units 9 and 10 of the facility.  

According to RWE npower, the biomass trial under existing environmental legislation was a success, both commercially and technically. Information released by the company specifies that applications were made during 2012 to bring the site up to new plant standards and create a dedicated biomass power station. However, work on that goal has now been halted.