Galvanizing - Ensuring The Biomass Industry Is Protected
16 November 2012, News release from Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd
The biomass sector continues to boom across the UK, with developers putting forward proposals to create a whole host of new facilities up and down the country. As with any construction project though, it is crucial that the infrastructure used to store both the inputs and outputs involved in the biomass process is robust enough to withstand a particularly harsh and corrosive environment.
Galvanizing the steelwork used to build these biomass storage facilities will provide a long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion, helping to ensure an essential part of the supply chain required to produce renewable energy is also a sustainable solution in itself.
With the government still committed to its target of producing 15% of the UK's energy from renewable sources by 2020 - along with its pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 - it is understandable why the demand for biomass continues to rapidly grow. Indeed, organisations including Drax, E.ON, and Future Biogas are amongst those either currently operating a biomass power plant, or having submitted a bid to create one of 40 plus proposed facilities across the country. In the not too distant future, it's expected that the UK's expanding biomass market will require upwards of 90 million tonnes of wood a year.
Biomass by its very nature is an extremely varied process, encompassing both a variety of input materials (e.g. wood, energy crops, and agricultural, food, and industrial waste) and also conversion technologies required to actually produce renewable energy (thermal, such as combined heat and power, chemical, or biochemical, for instance anaerobic digestion and composting). However, whichever combination of material and conversion method is used, how the inputs and eventual outputs are stored is of paramount importance to the success of the entire process. In comparison to fossil fuel alternatives, biomass fuel - both in solid and wet format - is of a relatively low energy density, meaning that a large volume is typically required to be stored and transported.
Biomass storage plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from purpose-built structures or bespoke prefabricated facilities, through to adapted units such as feed silos or shipping containers. While it's crucial the structural metalwork used to construct these storage facilities is robust and durable - it's similarly important that all the external steel fixtures and fittings, including access ladders and platforms, pipes and tubing, ramps and conveyor systems are all protected against rust and corrosion. This is where hot dip galvanizing comes into its own as a one-off process that can protect the steel in the long-term.
Wedge Group Galvanizing has been called upon to provide corrosion protection to a wide range of biomass and waste treatment facilities over the past couple of years, including:
Drax Power Station, Selby
Through its Worksop Galvanizing plant, the firm processed more than 500 tonnes of structural steelwork, including 18 metre-long beams, that were used to create a biomass fuel unloading and storage unit at the Drax coal-fired power station in Selby, North Yorkshire. The metalwork was used in part to create two 15 metre concrete and galvanized steel silos to stockpile biomass material including timber, agricultural waste, recycled paper and wood, with the facility's designers specifically asking for galvanized steelwork to ensure maximum anti-rust protection.
Avondale Environmental Advanced Waste Treatment Centre, Falkirk
On a similar theme, the Glasgow-based Scottish Galvanizers facility processed around 270 tonnes of structural steelwork used to build Avondale Environmental's new £20 million Advanced Waste Treatment Centre in Polmont, on the outskirts of Falkirk, which opened in February this year. With the capacity to process around 200,000 tonnes of waste every year, the Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant will divert roughly 60% of this waste from landfill through either recycling or developing fuels for energy production.
Wedge Group Galvanizing is the largest hot dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants strategically placed across the country, the firm offers a truly national galvanizing service, ranging from centrifuge galvanizing of small components such as bolts and washers, right the way up to 29 metre steel beams. The company's plants are designed and equipped to set industry-leading standards for sustainability and low environmental impact, and include innovative solutions such as rainwater collection and storage which allows water to be recycled back into the galvanizing process, as well as ducting waste heat from the galvanizing bath to heat the pre-treatment tanks.
For further information please contact Wedge Group Galvanizing on 01902 630311 or visit www.wedge-galv.co.uk.
For further information please email Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd