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Grimsby Telegraph: Firm leads way to deliver biomass facility at Port of Immingham



CONTRACTS have been awarded for the building of the "UK's most technically-advanced" biomass handling terminal, at Immingham.


Graham Construction, the company behind the build out of Grimsby River Terminal, has been appointed to deliver the port facilities for the anticipated three-million tonnes of pelletised wood that will cross the Atlantic late next year.


As extensively reported, a £75 million investment is being made to ensure the region's giant power station, Drax, has the fuel it requires as it makes a shift from a coal-dominated feedstock to a 50/50 balance with the renewable alternative.


A total of £350 million is being spent to secure supply from the States, with the same again being spent in the UK to ensure the transition is as efficient as possible.


Graham will undertake the design and construction of a major new facility for importing, storing, and onward transfer of the pellets at what will be called Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal.


According to owner Associated British Ports (ABP), it will put Immingham at the forefront of the developing supply chain in renewable power generation from biomass.


John Fitzgerald, ABP port director at Grimsby and Immingham, said: "We are really pleased to be working with the team at Graham, with which we have established an excellent relationship through the development of our Grimsby River Terminal for the automotive trade. Immingham has always been an energy port ever since it opened just over 100 years ago, so it is fitting that the UK's largest, most technically-advanced biomass handling terminal will be built here."


Once completed, the 11.5-acre facility will be a fully automated bulk-handling terminal. It will be able to store up to 100,000 tonnes of wood pellets, with four storage silos having a total capacity of 168,000 cubic metres, equivalent to more than 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools.


The IRFT facility will support the planned transformation of three of Drax's six coal-fired generating units at the Selby power station to biomass-fuelled units, in line with the Government's climate change targets.


The design and construction project will also feature continuous ship unloaders, around 1.2km of conveyor systems, road and rail loading facilities and extensive safety systems.


The Graham team includes Ramboll, a company with extensive experience of biomass handling; local consultant HBPW Consulting; materials handling contractors Whitwick Engineering; and local electrical firm Lectec Services.


Leo Martin, a director at Graham, said: "This is a project we are delighted to have secured. Not only is ABP one of our key clients but also the biomass-handling sector is a growing sector and it is one we want to be at the forefront of. The challenge is now to complete the design and construction of this complex project on programme and provide ABP with a plant that meets their requirements."


The last three months of 2014 is the timeframe set, dovetailing with Drax's expectations for supply chain completion in the US.