Murphy & Sons finishes completes first construction phase at £138m Cramlington CHP plant

Engineering and construction company Murphy & Sons has successfully completed the first phase of work on the UK’s first large-scale reheat biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

Murphy has installed over 6,600m of cable ducts across a range of terrain in preparation of installing the 66kV circuit in early 2017 at the £138 million (€154m) Cramlington plant in Northumberland.

The company says it will now begin the construction of the plant substation and compound, breaking ground on site this month.

Vincent Bowler, operations director for Murphy’s power sector called the completion of the first installations “a great milestone”.

“We have installed thousands of metres of ducting underneath major arterial roads and industrial landscapes across Northumberland, while at the same time minimising the impact on the local community,” Bowler said.

The CHP plant uses reheat technology, which is relatively new to power plants of this size.

Steam will be led through two heating processes and two turbines instead of one for increased energy use, which improves fuel efficiency and achieves a higher output and economic and environmental benefits.

The Cramlington plant will have an output of 27.8MW, generating 223GWh of renewable electricity.

Power will be generated sustainably from virgin wood, forest residues, and clean recycled waste wood.

It is expected that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 56,000 tonnes annually when compared to a gas-fired power plant.

The contract was awarded by Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractors (BWSC) in October 2015 and Murphy was tasked with the cabling and civils design stage, civil duct route construction, substation and compound construction and fit-out, as well as commissioning and installing the 66kV equipment and cable systems.

As well as supplying low carbon electricity to National Grid, the plant will also directly supply electricity and heat to two pharmaceutical companies on a direct wire and pipeline basis.

Work on the plant, which reached financial closure in October 2015, is due to be completed in summer 2017.

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