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Lynemouth bioenergy project gets kick start with help from Spencer Group

Port of Tyne silos
Port of Tyne silos

UK engineering firm Spencer Group has announced it has erected three major silos as the centrepiece of a major bioenergy project in the Port of Tyne, in the north of England.

They are located at the heart of large-scale wood pellet facilities at the Port of Tyne.

The structures, each 36m (118ft) tall and 45m (147ft) in diameter, have been built by Spencer as part of a major, multi-million pounds contract awarded by Lynemouth Power. In due course, the silos will be topped off with “penthouse” structures housing the drive mechanism for the wood pellet conveyor system, taking the full height of the buildings to 45m.

The facilities, at Tyne Dock in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, will handle up to 1.8m tonnes of wood pellets annually, to support the full conversion of Lynemouth Power Station on the Northumberland coast from coal-burning to biomass.

The project will enable wood pellets to be conveyed mechanically to one of three newly-built silos, each capable of storing 25,000 tonnes of material. The pellets will then be discharged from the silos via two conveying streams to a rail-loading facility to take the material to Lynemouth Power Station by train.

Spencer, which is renowned for delivering innovation on complex projects, has utilised Industry-leading particle controls in the material handling system, as well as sophisticated measures to monitor and manage the condition of the wood pellets.

To complete the project, Spencer will utilise its specialist skills in the rail sector to carry out modifications to the existing rail infrastructure to provide dedicated rail lines to serve Lynemouth Power Station and connect the new facilities to the 11,000-volts mains supply.

‘Northern Powerhouse’

Gary Thornton, Spencer’s managing director, said: “With the emergence of the Northern Powerhouse and the increasing importance of major northern infrastructure projects, we were extremely proud to be awarded this contract.

“The project showcases Spencer Group’s ability to deliver significant projects of scale and positions us as a market leader in handling biomass.

“The completion of the three silos is a major milestone, as we now enter the final phases of the project.”

The first materials handling gantries have also been installed on site as part of the conveyor system taking the wood pellets from the quayside to the silos and, finally, the rail-loading facility. The gantry structures have been fabricated off site and are being pre-assembled on the port estate, prior to installation.

Project director Derek Barr said: “In terms of design and delivery this project is at the forefront of innovation in this field. We have a very experienced team on site, drawn from within the business, and we have expanded it because of the size and complexity of the project, with so many disciplines involved.

“We have deployed the multi-disciplinary expertise within Spencer Group and supplemented it with specialist contractors to deliver the full package for the client. We design, engineer and construct the facilities and, as we have in the past, we will also prove their performance as an integrated system.”

The project is now well on the way to completion, with the facilities due to be fully operational later this year.

Port of Tyne silos