Ferrybridge power stations

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Ferrybridge power stations
Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station - geograph.org.uk - 35089.jpg
Ferrybridge C Power Station
Viewed from the west in August 2005
Ferrybridge power stations is located in West Yorkshire
Ferrybridge power stations
Location of Ferrybridge power stations
Country England
Location Knottingley
Coordinates 53°43′03″N 1°16′50″W / 53.71740°N 1.28058°W / 53.71740; -1.28058Coordinates: 53°43′03″N 1°16′50″W / 53.71740°N 1.28058°W / 53.71740; -1.28058
Status Operational
Commission date A station: 1927
B station: 1957
C station: 1966
Multifuel 1: 2012
Decommission date A station: 1976
B station: 1992
C station: 2016
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Coal
Secondary fuel Biomass
Power generation
Nameplate capacity A station:125 MW
B station: 300 MW
C station: 2,034 MW

Ferrybridge power station refers to a series of three coal-fired power stations situated on the River Aire near Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire, England, next to the junction of the M62 and A1(M) motorways.

The first station on the site, Ferrybridge A power station, was constructed in the mid-1920s, and was closed in 1976; the main building has been retained as workshops. Ferrybridge B was brought into operation in the 1950s and closed in the early 1990s.

In the 1960s, Ferrybridge C power station was opened with a generating capacity of 2 GW from four 500 MW sets; constructed by Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in 1965; on privatisation in 1989 ownership was passed to Powergen, then to Edison Mission Energy (1999), then to AEP Energy Services (American Electric Power) (2001) and to SSE plc (2004). C power station closed in March 2016.

Two of the four units were fitted with flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) plant in 2009. In 2013 SSE indicated that the power station would not comply with the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) requiring the plant's closure by 2023 or earlier. It was later announced that the plant would be fully closed by March 2016.[1]

Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 is a 68 MW multi-fuel plant at the site which became operational in 2015.[2]

Ferrybridge A (1917–1976)

Ferrybridge main building and switchgear house (c.1927)

Land at Ferrybridge was purchased by the West Yorkshire Power Company in 1917. Plans for a power station were prepared and submitted to the Board of Trade in March 1918. Because of a system change the following year with the Electricity (Supply) Act 1919, the plans were put on hold. The plans were resubmitted to the Electricity Commissioners in January 1920. The plans were finally granted permission in November 1921, but delayed by a supply area reshuffle.[3] A 135 acres (55 ha) site was chosen with good access to coal, water, and good transport links including water transport.[4]

Construction of Ferrybridge A power station began in 1926 and the station began operating in 1927.[5] The initial station covered 32 acres (13 ha) of the site.[4] The main buildings contained the boilers, turbines, and offices and workshops, and a smaller building housed the electrical switchgear.[6] Transport facilities included sidings connected to the LNER with equipment for handling wagons up to 20t, and a river wharf for transport by barge.[4] Wagon unloading was by a side tipper, into an automated weigher and then conveyors, and barge unloading was by a crane into the weighing machine.[7] The cooling water intakes were 550 ft (170 m) upstream of the wharves, initially with two filtered intakes with a minimum capacity (low water) of 3,000,000 imp gal (14,000 m3) of water per hour.[8]

The power generating equipment included eight 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) per hour water boiling capacity water tube boilers arranged in pairs, sharing air draught and chimneys (166 ft (51 m) height). The boilers were designed to produce superheated steam at 315 psi (21.4 atm) at 700 °F (371 °C)[9] The turbine/generator section had two 3,000 rpm three stage reaction turbines driving alternators rated at 19 MW continuous.[10] The alternators produced 50 Hz 3 phase AC at 11 kV, which was stepped up to 33 kV by two sets of three single phase transformers rated at 25 MW per set.[11][12]

The main building of Ferrybridge A converted to use as workshops by RWE npower (2006)

The station passed into the ownership of the British Electricity Authority on the nationalisation of the UK's power industry, with the Electricity Act 1947. This company in turn became the Central Electricity Authority in 1954.

The station closed on 25 October 1976, at which point it had a generating capacity of 125 MW.[13]

Ferrybridge A's boiler room and turbine hall still stand today; its single large concrete chimney has been demolished.[when?] The buildings are now used as offices and workshops,[5] by the RWE npower Technical Support Group, who are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of power station plant from around the country.[citation needed]

Ferrybridge B (1957–1992)

Ferrybridge B Power Station was constructed in the 1950s. It generated electricity using three 100 megawatt (MW) generating sets, which were commissioned between 1957 and 1959. The station originally had a total generating capacity of 300 MW, but by the 1990s this was recorded as 285 MW. After the UK's electric supply industry was privatised in 1990, the station was operated by PowerGen.[14] The station closed in 1992 and has since been completely demolished.[5][14]

In 2006 LaFarge began construction of a plasterboard factory adjacent to the Ferrybridge C power station on the site of the former Ferrybridge B station to use the Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum) produced by FGD.[15]

Ferrybridge C (1966–2016)

CEGB period (1962–1989)

The power station was originally built for and operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board.

Construction and commissioning

Work began at the site in 1962 and was completed by 1968.[citation needed] On 1 November 1965, three of the cooling towers collapsed due to vibrations in 85 mph winds. Although the structures had been built to withstand higher wind speeds, the design only considered average wind speeds over one minute and neglected shorter gusts. Furthermore, the grouped shape of the cooling towers meant that westerly winds were funnelled into the towers themselves, creating a vortex. Three out of the original eight cooling towers were destroyed and the remaining five were severely damaged. The towers were rebuilt and all eight cooling towers were strengthened to tolerate adverse weather conditions.[5][16][17]

Commission of Ferrybridge C began in 1966: one unit was brought on line, feeding electricity into the National Grid, on 27 February 1966.[18][19] Following the cooling tower accident, it was expected that the station would not be opened for some time after the scheduled date. However it was possible to connect one of the remaining towers to the now complete Unit 1. The reconstruction of the destroyed towers began in April 1966.[citation needed]


Ferrybridge C Power Station has four 500 MW generating sets,[5] (known as units 1–4). In addition to the main generating sets the plant originally had four gas turbines with a combined capacity of 68 MW. Two were retired in the late 1990s reducing capacity to 34 MW[citation needed]. These units are used to start the plant in the absence of an external power supply.

Coal supply was by rail transport (initially 4m. tons a year in 1,000-ton Merry-go-round trains at the rate of 17 a day)[20] and road transport and barge (initially 1m. tons[20] on the Aire and Calder Navigation).[5] Barge transport ended in the late 1990s.[21] The automatic unloading equipment for the coal trains was built by Rhymney Engineering, a Powell Duffryn company. It used ultrasonic detection, capable of dealing with up to 99 wagons in a train (though initially trains had 35 hopper wagons), to control the door-opening gear to empty 5 wagons at a time into the bunkers.[22]

The plant's two chimneys are 198 m (650 ft) high and its eight cooling towers are 115 m (377 ft) high.[21]

Post-privatisation (1989–)

Ownership passed to Powergen (1989) after the privatisation of the Central Electricity Generating Board. In 1998, during the 1990s "dash for gas", Powergen closed Unit 4.[23] In 1999 however, Ferrybridge Power Station, along with Fiddlers Ferry power station in Cheshire, was sold to Edison Mission Energy. Both stations were then sold on to AEP Energy Services Ltd (American Electric Power) in 2001, before both were sold again to SSE plc in July 2004 for £136 million.[5]

In 2005 SSE took the decision to fit Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) to the plant, installing equipment to scrub half of Ferrybridge's output; the decision was required to partially meet the specifications of the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD);[24] in 2008 the boilers were fitted with Boosted Over Fire Air in order to reduce the NOx emissions.[25] In 2009 FGD was commissioned on Units 3 and 4.[26][27] The installation of FGD allowed SSE sign a 5-year agreement with UK Coal for 3.5 million tonnes of higher sulphur coal.[28]

In December 2013 SSE announced that Ferrybridge would opt out from (not comply with) the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU); requiring the plant to close by the end of 2023, or after 17,500 hours of operation after 1 January 2016.[29][30]

The units without FGD (1 and 2) were closed on 28 March 2014 under the LCPD.[26][31]

On 31 July 2014 a serious fire broke out in Ferrybridge Unit C. The fire was understood to have started in the fourth generating unit, with the no.3 unit also affected. Neither unit was operational at the time of the fire due to maintenance.[32] Initial expectations were that unit 3 would be operational by November 2014, but unit 4 would not be operational before April 2015.[33] Since the fire was FGD absorber on Unit 4 after work by site team and contractors Unit 3 returned to service on 29 October 2014 and Unit 4 RTS on 15 December 2014 however without its FGD could only run by burning very low sulphur coal and in tandem with Unit 3. The very low Sulphur coal ran out in March 2015 and as no further low sulphur coal was purchased the unit had to shut down March 2015 and never ran again. On 19 May 2015 SSE announced that the station would be closed by 31 March 2016, without Unit 4 reopening. The stated reasons were "irreparable damage" caused by the prior fire, and that the station was now a loss-making operation, predicted to lose £100 million over the next five years.[34][35]

Closure 2016

Ferrybridge C electricity generation was ended at around midday on 23 March 2016. With SSE stating that the official date of closure is 31 March 2016.[36]

Ferrybridge Multifuel (2011–)

On 31 October 2011 SSE was granted Section 36 planning permission to construct a 68 MW Multifuel plant at its Ferrybridge C Power Station site.[37] The 68 MW plant was designed to burn mixed fuel including biomass, fuel from waste and waste wood. The plant became operational during 2015.[38][2]

In late 2013 consultations began for a second multifuel plant "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2" (FM2). The plant was initially specified to be similar in scale to the first plant, and to have a capacity of up to 90 MW.[39][40]

Ferrybridge Carbon Capture Plant

On 30 November 2011, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, officially opened a carbon capture pilot plant at Ferrybridge Power Station. The carbon capture plant was constructed in partnership with Doosan Power Systems, Vattenfall and the Technology Strategy Board.[41][42] The plant had a capacity of 100 tonnes of CO2 per day, equivalent to 0.005 GW of power.[43] The capture method used amine chemistry[44][45] (see Amine gas treating). The CO2 was not stored, because the pilot plant was designed only to test the carbon capture element of the carbon capture and storage process. At the time of construction it was the largest carbon capture plant in the UK.[46]

See also


  1. ^ "SSE to close Ferrybridge coal plant". BBC Business News. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Ferrybridge Multifuel 1". Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Charles (29 March 1926). "ELECTRICITY (SUPPLY) BILL". Hansard. 
  4. ^ a b c The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.2
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Norfolk, Michael. "Industry in Knottingley and Ferrybridge". Knottingley and Ferrybridge online. Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station. Archived from the original on 1 January 2006. 
  6. ^ The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.3 & Fig.3
  7. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.503, col.3, Fig. 6
  8. ^ The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.3; p.490, col.1
  9. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, cols. 2,3
  10. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, col.3
  11. ^ The Engineer, 11 November 1927, p.532, col. 1
  12. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, Fig. 8
  13. ^ Mr. Redmond (16 January 1984). "Coal-fired Power Stations". Hansard. 
  14. ^ a b "Table 3.7 – Generation Disconnections since 1991". National Grid. 2003. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  15. ^ All the right credentials. www.newsteelconstruction.com. 15. April 2007. pp. 25–27. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Price, David N. (1994). Neil Schlager, ed. When Technology Fails: significant technological disasters, accidents, and failures of the twentieth century. Gale Research. pp. 267–270. ISBN 0-8103-8908-8. 
  17. ^ Moore, Tony; Lakha, Raj (20 November 2006). Tolley's Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management, Third Edition: Principles and Practice (3rd ed. (Hardcover) ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7506-6990-0. 
  18. ^ Haigh, Maurice (3 March 1966). "KNOTTINGLEY IN 1966". Pontefract & Castleford Express. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  19. ^ MacLeay, Iain; Harris, Kevin; Annut, Anwar (2012). Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 2012 (PDF). Department of Energy and Climate Change. Table 5.11, p.151. ISBN 9780115155284. 
  20. ^ a b Modern Railways October 1966 p. 521 'The NER prepares for big three-station coal feed'
  21. ^ a b "Case study – Hargreaves Industrial services" (PDF). www.hargreavesservices.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Modern Railways January 1967 p. 46
  23. ^ "Closure of UK coal-fired generating plant raises questions". Coal International. May 1998. p. 113. 
  24. ^ "SSE to fit FGD on Ferrybridge". ICIS Heren. 16 November 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ferrybridge CCPilot 100+ Power Station, United Kingdom". www.power-technology.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013. Ferrybridge C power station details [..] The boilers were equipped with boosted-over-fire-air technology in 2008 to reduce NOx emissions [unreliable source?]
  26. ^ a b "Ferrybridge power station". SSE. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Scottish and Southern Energy plc – Financial report for the six months to 30 September 2009" (PDF). SSE. 11 November 2009. pp. 5, 7. Retrieved 5 January 2014. The removal, in January and February 2009, of the restrictions on running hours at Fiddler’s Ferry and Ferrybridge power stations which applied during 2008, following the installation of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment [...] Investment in 2009/10 [..] During that time, SSE [..] completed the installation of flue gas desulphurisation equipment at Fiddler’s Ferry and Ferrybridge power stations 
  28. ^ "Agreement with UK Coal plc". SSE. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Future operation of thermal generation sites". SSE. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  30. ^ Macalister, Terry (20 December 2013). "SSE to close two coal-fired power stations". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Ferrybridge C". SSE. Project Information. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Unit One (490 MW) and Unit Two (490 MW) at Ferrybridge power station were opted out of the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), and turned off once they used up their allowed 20,000 operating hours at the end of March 2014. 
  32. ^ "Firefighters tackle blaze at UK Ferrybridge power plant". uk.reuters.com. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Fire at Ferrybridge – 18.30 update" (press release). SSE. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "BREAKING: Ferrybridge Power Station To Close In 2016". The Scaffolding Magazine. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "SSE ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF FERRYBRIDGE POWER STATION". SSE. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  36. ^ "Ferrybridge C coal-fired power station closes after 50 years". BBC News. BBC. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  37. ^ "(Decision letter) – Application for consent to construct and operate a multi-fuel generating station at Ferrybridge 'C' power station" (PDF). Department of Energy and Climate Change. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "New multi-fuel facility at Ferrybridge to create jobs". BBC News – Leeds and West Yorkshire. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Consultation begins for second multifuel power station at Ferrybridge". Goole Courier. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) Power Station". The Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  41. ^ "SSE opens carbon capture plant". Stock Market Wire. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Chris Huhne Opens UK's First Carbon Capture Plant" (Press Release). Department of Energy and Climate Change. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  43. ^ "UK'S FIRST CARBON CAPTURE PLANT OPENS AT FERRYBRIDGE POWER STATION". www.doosanpowersystems.com. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "Ferrybridge CCPilot100+ post-combustion carbon capture" (PDF). Doosan Power Systems. February 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  45. ^ "£20 million carbon capture pilot plant to receive government support" (PDF). Technology Strategy Board. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  46. ^ "Largest carbon capture plant in UK opens in Yorkshire". The Guardian. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 


  • Ferrybridge A
    • "The Ferrybridge Station of the Yorkshire Electric Power Company", The Engineer, 144 , In three parts, via www.gracesguide.co.uk
    • No.1 (PDF), 28 October 1927, pp. 489–490, illus. p.488 
    • No.2 (PDF), 4 November 1927, pp. 503–506 
    • No.3 (PDF), 11 November 1927, pp. 532–533 
  • Ferrybridge B
    • Ferrybridge B 1957–1992: The Life of a Power Station, Powergen, 1992 
  • Ferrybridge C
    • Report of the Committee of Inquiry Into Collapse of Cooling Towers at Ferrybridge, Monday 1 November, 1965, CEGB, 1966 

External links

  • "SSE Ferrybridge". SSE. , official site
  • "Power to the People". , documentary
  • Walsh, Terry. "The redundant Ferrybridge 'A' Power Station Complex in 1976" (photographic image). 
  • "Ferrybridge C to close in March 2016". 
  • "SSE to close two coal-fired power stations". 

Preceded by
Blyth Power Station
Largest Power Station in the UK
Succeeded by
Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
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