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Aberthaw Power Station
West Aberthaw, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Aberthaw Power Station
associated engineer
Not known
date  February 1966, 1971 - 1979
era  Modern  |  category  Power Generation  |  reference  ST022663
photo  Jane Joyce
Two coal-fired power stations were built on a former golf course site at West Aberthaw but only the later one remains Aberthaw B. In 2009, it was announced that Aberthaw is to be the location for the UKs largest carbon capture plant.
When Aberthaw A Power Station opened in February 1966, it was the most advanced in the world. It operated until 1995, and was demolished piecemeal, a process that took until July 1997 to complete. Aberthaw B opened in the 1970s and was saved from closure in June 2005.
Aberthaw B uses semi-anthracitic low-volatile Welsh coal, and bituminous coal or anthracite delivered by rail from Bristol (from UK and Russian sources).
There are three 500MW generating units, each consisting of a boiler supplying steam to a turbine, which powers a generator. The station also has three gas turbines for emergency use.
The coal is milled to a fine powder and carried into the boilers by a jet of hot air where it burns like a gas. This heats water flowing in tubes lining the combustion chambers, converting it to steam that is circulated twice through the boilers. Steam leaves the boiler at 565 degrees Celsius and 16,500kN per square metre pressure.
The steam enters the high pressure part of the turbines and turns the shafts at 3,000rpm. The shafts are linked directly to the generators. Steam returns to the boilers, is reheated, and then enters the intermediate and low pressure parts of the turbines. Exhaust steam from the turbines is condensed and returned to the combustion chamber tubes.
Cooling water for the condensing comes from the Bristol Channel.
Inside each generator an electromagnetic rotor turns the copper stator to create electric current at 22kV. This is transformed up to 275kV for transmission to the National Grid. There is sufficient electricity generated to supply 1.5 million people.
Electrostatic precipitators remove fine coal dust from the boiler exhaust gases before they are expelled from the chimney. Larger ash particles are collected from the bottom of the boiler and piped to settlement pits. Some of the dust and ashes are then sold to Generation Aggregates for use in construction projects.
Aberthaw B is now owned and operated by RWE npower. Work began in June 2006 to retrofit a 108m seawater flue gas desulphurisation system, designed to remove 90 percent of sulphur dioxide emissions by 2008 (to comply with European environmental regulations).
A further 45m is being spent on uprating the turbine generating units to 520MW each. To comply with UK government directives, some power is generated by burning woodchip biomass. These works should extend the useful life of Aberthaw B Power Station until 2018 or 2022.
In November 2009, the owner announced plans for a carbon capture and geological storage scheme. It could sequester up to 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, reducing the emissions produced by burning fossil fuel.
Turbine and generator supply (1971-9): Associated Electric Industries
Bolier supply (1971-9): Foster Wheeler
Bolier supply (1971-9): John Brown Engineering
Flue gas desulphurisation (2006-8): Alstom / AMEC plc consortium
RCAHMW_NPRN 269878, 414941
Research: ECPK

Aberthaw Power Station