Plan for Biomass power station at Trecwn near Fishguard

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by swcovas, 15 Apr 2015.

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  1. swcovas

    swcovas Member

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    It was recently announced that Pembrokeshire CC have approved plans for a biomass power station at Trecwn near Fishguard. See Article below:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-32024255


    The article says that the plant will require 53 HGV deliveries a day which seems very precise! For those of you who don't know Trecwn was a rail served munitions depot which closed in the 90s and I thought the rail connection was still intact. Does anyone know if this is the case and if so why can't deliveries be made by rail? It seems so logical in a very rural area where roads are not that fantastic.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 15 Apr 2015
  2. Oxfordblues

    Oxfordblues Member

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    I went past Letterston Junction recently and everything was in place and apparently maintained as an operational railway.
     
  3. swcovas

    swcovas Member

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    I thought it was but haven't been past for nearly 3 years.
     
  4. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    Its probably coming from multiple dispersed sources and thus would not suit a rail move.
     
  5. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    There will be a 'Rail Offloading Facility' according to this plan:
    http://planning.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/AnitePublicDocs/00194398.pdf

    You might also find the Transport Assessment of interest:
    http://planning.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/AnitePublicDocs/00194652.pdf

     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  6. BantamMenace

    BantamMenace Member

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    Doesnt much of the country's biomass fuel come from Canada, the US and Scandinavia so surely a port to plant rail transfer would be best.
     
  7. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    if your taking product from the USA and Canada, you need a port able to handle a panamax size bulker, ie a vessel capable of carrying about 60000 tonnes of coal. However, biomass is usually considerably more bulky so in practice the full deadweight capacity of the vessel would not be used. Nevertheless, this probably means at least 13.00mtrs of water plus suitable storage alongside the berth to store the product which would also have to be capable of providing hard standing for mobile cranes, unless quayside cranes already existed. 53 loads a day road would suggest the daily capacity of plant would be between 1000 and 1200 tonnes resulting in a requirement for a vessel arrival about every 24 days or 12 to 13 vessels per annum. Unless there is potential for other similar traffic it's may be uneconomic to consider building or adapting existing facilities.From Scandinavia you would probably use much smaller vessels, but have the complication of increasing the cost per tonne especially with the longer voyage around to the West Coast of the UK.
     
  8. BantamMenace

    BantamMenace Member

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    I'm not on about where the ship would dock, im saying where ever it does dock a rail option from the dock to the plant should be viable. My argument was against that the biomass will be coming from many different smaller sources so rail isnt viable as i believe it will be from abroad and therefore to a UK port for onward transfer, hopefully by rail.
     
  9. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    I'd tend to agree with you, I was merely pointing out that for the product to arrive from overseas by ship the facilities that would be required to cater for the volumes involved. Milford Haven would be an obvious candidate to handle the larger ships but whether it suitable berths necessary is another matter since as far as I know it has largely concentrated on oil and gas products. Newport and Cardiff may have suitable facilities, and perhaps slight further afield Portbury or Avonmouth could probably accommodate the larger vessels, beyond these you start looking at Liverpool and perhaps Immingham all of which would favour a rail operation rather than a road operation.

    The obvious problem as you have touched on is the difficulties of supplying the plant 24/7 365 days of the year from many different sources, especially if the local road network is not up to standard or passes through residential areas.
     
  10. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    One assumes that an existing biomass handling terminal at a port would be used, e.g. Seaforth, Port of Tyne or Hull, in which case the train becomes realistic.

    Also worth pointing out that there is a biomass generation plant of similar size at Port Talbot, which takes locally sourced biomass. Not inconceivable this new plant would be the same, in which case it will come by road. The trucks could do three trips a day easily.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  11. Delta558

    Delta558 Member

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    A couple of years ago, the Trecwn line leading off from Letterston Loop went from being an overgrown weedbed to a very clean and tidy bit of track. Something in the back of my mind says that it was re-ballasted, but I'm not certain of that.

    There has been 'gossip' recently about its possible use in relation to the biomass power station, but nothing from a reliable source so far!
     
  12. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    The original news report seems to imply that the plant would be engaged in burning things like waste wood from recycling depots run by local authorities.
    Rather than bulk imported biomass.
     
  13. swcovas

    swcovas Member

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    It's pleasing to know that Pembs CC are considering using rail for transport. It wasn't mentioned in the report which I quoted from the BBC.

    Talk of importing reminds me of another "rumour" in the last year or so about Milford Haven being used as a major port for importing biomass which was going to result in a considerable number of trains to transport the stuff and was likely to be a major factor in the future of the Swansea District Line. Any development on that?
     
  14. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    It's not Pembrokeshire CC but the developer and their consultants who produced the documents above. However PCC made the decision on the planning application.
     
  15. kylemore

    kylemore Member

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    Has The Port of Tyneside not already established unloading facilities for North American Biomass with rail access?

    I'm surprised that Hunterston has not also got into this as the future of bulk coal imports can only be downwards as the political closure of coal power generation continues.

    However as the new plant at Fishguard is on the coast and N.American biomass is to be used would not the most sensible method be Transhipment with small feeder bulkers from Tyneside or Hunterston?
     
  16. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    From Scandinavia I'd expect it to travel by rail the entire way, considering it could (in theory) be done non-stop without ever leaving the rails via the ├śresund Bridge and Danish central belt, and in around a decade or so cutting off the corner using the Fehmarnbelt. But yes, Panamax vessels at Fishguard seems unlikely at best - the infrastructure required to support such vessels far exceeds the benefits gained by a single plant.
     
    Last edited: 18 Apr 2015
  17. Domeyhead

    Domeyhead Member

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    Sadly the economics of biomass do not readily allow for onward transfer from ship to rail so where it becomes necessary the business case fails. The calorific value by volume of (say) coal is many times that of biomass and the transport costs are a factor of volume as well as weight. The end result is that you cannot afford transshipment en route, hence the current push to site biomass plants in port areas. There will be a growing domestic supply of feedstock over time but as other posters mentioned this would have the same characteristic as wagonload distribution which we know is no longer economic. It is more economic to generate power close to the source of supply rather than ferry the feedstock to some inland site and this consideration will always win out in the end.
     
  18. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    The Port of Tyne does handle Biomass which is largely destined for Drax whilst the Port of Liverpool has also started to handle it, serving Drax and Ironbridge. They also have plans to build their own power generation plant at Brocklebank Dock.

    I doubt it would be economical to rail from Scandinavia due to economies of scale when using bulk ships, let alone the logistical nightmare of maintaining the regular flow of product from one or more sites to the plant through so many countries, even if they are all in EU.

    Moving the quantities of product required to supply a power station is always going to be cheaper in the UK by rail than by road providing there is a single source, ie a port facility as the Tyne and Mersey examples show. Building power plants in or adjacent to ports is not new but we do have several relatively modern power stations, with a growing demand for their output, that were originally built to burn coal and or gas which can have their lives economically extended by converting them to use biomass, so inland moves will likely remain necessary for many years to come.

    Transhipping bulk product which usually has a relatively low value per tonne between bulk ships especially around UK ports is never going to be cost effective as the double handling costs would be huge and you still have the problem of moving the product from a suitable berth and storage area to the plant.
     
  19. kylemore

    kylemore Member

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    Perhaps so with Biomass but not so with Coal - I regularly see smaller bulkers at the inside berth at Hunterston which arrive unladen and depart laden presumably bound for ports with draught and or size restrictions.
     
  20. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Biomass to Drax power station is shipped in by boat to the nearest port and then the rest of the way by train is it not? So must be profitable otherwise it wouldn't happen unless subsidy is provided.
     
  21. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    I suspect these small bulkers are actually going to Northern Ireland. There is at least one company in Londonderry who supply coal to both sides of the border.

    Correct.
     
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