Discussion:
Quick generating question - biomass and coal
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David
2021-01-13 13:14:55 UTC
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Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.

A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?

Cheers



Dave R
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The Natural Philosopher
2021-01-13 14:30:07 UTC
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Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'

My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Post by David
Cheers
Dave R
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returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

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The Natural Philosopher
2021-01-13 14:37:29 UTC
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Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Further to that, this suggests that DRAX4 and 5 are down till the end of
this week

www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
--
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Andy Burns
2021-01-13 14:49:59 UTC
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Post by The Natural Philosopher
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Reason for Unavailability
Boiler / Fuel Supply

They've sent the lad out to buy some firewood, having used it all up
during the cold/dark/unwindy spell the other week?
charles
2021-01-13 15:19:24 UTC
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Post by Andy Burns
Post by The Natural Philosopher
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Reason for Unavailability
Boiler / Fuel Supply
They've sent the lad out to buy some firewood, having used it all up
during the cold/dark/unwindy spell the other week?
might he get help from GK Wenceslas?
--
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"I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of boredom" Thomas Carlyle
williamwright
2021-01-13 18:38:14 UTC
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Post by charles
might he get help from GK Wenceslas?
I wonder if other kids at school sung "Good King Wenslas last looked out" ?

Bill
Clive Arthur
2021-01-13 23:08:41 UTC
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Post by williamwright
Post by charles
might he get help from GK Wenceslas?
I wonder if other kids at school sung "Good King Wenslas last looked out" ?
Bill
And where is this place 'Orientar' from whence the three kings hail?

Why is the holly-bear a berry?
--
Cheers
Clive
Max Demian
2021-01-14 11:23:39 UTC
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Post by Clive Arthur
Post by williamwright
Post by charles
might he get help from GK Wenceslas?
I wonder if other kids at school sung "Good King Wenslas last looked out" ?
Bill
And where is this place 'Orientar' from whence the three kings hail?
Why is the holly-bear a berry?
Why is Amazon still recommending carol CDs?
--
Max Demian
charles
2021-01-14 11:39:00 UTC
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Post by Max Demian
Post by Clive Arthur
Post by williamwright
Post by charles
might he get help from GK Wenceslas?
I wonder if other kids at school sung "Good King Wenslas last looked out" ?
Bill
And where is this place 'Orientar' from whence the three kings hail?
Why is the holly-bear a berry?
Why is Amazon still recommending carol CDs?
perhaps they need the storage space for Easter Eggs?
--
from KT24 in Surrey, England
"I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of boredom" Thomas Carlyle
Tim Lamb
2021-01-13 16:18:27 UTC
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Post by Andy Burns
Post by The Natural Philosopher
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Reason for Unavailability
Boiler / Fuel Supply
They've sent the lad out to buy some firewood, having used it all up
during the cold/dark/unwindy spell the other week?
There was a supply interruption here (mid Herts) at 1.00am. Short
duration and *on the hour* so probably routine switching but annoying as
it woke me up!
--
Tim Lamb
Jeff Layman
2021-01-13 18:16:05 UTC
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Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Further to that, this suggests that DRAX4 and 5 are down till the end of
this week
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Completely OT, but seeing the title of the thread reminded me.

Did you see the Channel 5 programme on Wednesday last week "The Thames.
Britain's great river with Tony Robinson"? A fair bit of it was recorded
in the old Battersea Power Station. There was a longish section in the
Control Room, which is being conserved and the roof section reglassed
and redecorated (all being sanded down by hand!). A quite amazing number
of analogue meters were on view with the area of London each section
powered being shown. See photo at
<https://batterseapowerstation.co.uk/about/team-battersea> and the video
for a few seconds starting at 11.03.
--
Jeff
newshound
2021-01-13 19:20:02 UTC
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Post by Jeff Layman
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Further to that, this suggests that DRAX4 and 5 are down till the end of
this week
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Completely OT, but seeing the title of the thread reminded me.
Did you see the Channel 5 programme on Wednesday last week "The Thames.
Britain's great river with Tony Robinson"? A fair bit of it was recorded
in the old Battersea Power Station. There was a longish section in the
Control Room, which is being conserved and the roof section reglassed
and redecorated (all being sanded down by hand!). A quite amazing number
of analogue meters were on view with the area of London each section
powered being shown. See photo at
<https://batterseapowerstation.co.uk/about/team-battersea> and the video
for a few seconds starting at 11.03.
No but nice heads up, I will try to watch it later. I never went to
Battersea but my first posting (pre-university, as a CEGB Scholar) was
to Kingston upon Thames which was similar technology. Four 25MW sets
with chain grate boilers. Lots of nice polished brass.
John Walliker
2021-01-14 13:14:11 UTC
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Post by newshound
Post by Jeff Layman
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Further to that, this suggests that DRAX4 and 5 are down till the end of
this week
www.draxpower-remit.com/UnitAvailability
Completely OT, but seeing the title of the thread reminded me.
Did you see the Channel 5 programme on Wednesday last week "The Thames.
Britain's great river with Tony Robinson"? A fair bit of it was recorded
in the old Battersea Power Station. There was a longish section in the
Control Room, which is being conserved and the roof section reglassed
and redecorated (all being sanded down by hand!). A quite amazing number
of analogue meters were on view with the area of London each section
powered being shown. See photo at
<https://batterseapowerstation.co.uk/about/team-battersea> and the video
for a few seconds starting at 11.03.
No but nice heads up, I will try to watch it later. I never went to
Battersea but my first posting (pre-university, as a CEGB Scholar) was
to Kingston upon Thames which was similar technology. Four 25MW sets
with chain grate boilers. Lots of nice polished brass.
I visited Kingston power station when I was at school. It was remarkable how
so much heat could be produced by what seemed a very thin layer of coal
on the moving chain grate. The coal was originally transported by barge
but I think the barges had been replaced by lorries by then.
It was also surprising how seldom smoke was visible. I was told that they
only made smoke briefly during startup.
The cooling water outlet significantly warmed up the Thames - which was
very welcome when rowing nearby in the winter.

John
newshound
2021-01-13 16:43:27 UTC
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Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Agreed (could be the "handling" plant, assuming they have not actually
run out. Coal stacks and plant have problems with ice and freezing in
the winter.)

Can't just switch a boiler between coal and wood. Coal plants are "lit"
using oil, ISTR that some can be "duel fuelled" with oil or coal.
The Other Mike
2021-01-14 13:04:41 UTC
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Post by newshound
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Agreed (could be the "handling" plant, assuming they have not actually
run out. Coal stacks and plant have problems with ice and freezing in
the winter.)
Can't just switch a boiler between coal and wood. Coal plants are "lit"
using oil, ISTR that some can be "duel fuelled" with oil or coal.
You can use oil up to about 30MW for a short while on some 500/660MW units if
the boiler is already hot enough, otherwise you destroy the turbine blades with
the wet steam. It's bloody expensive though and only really intended for flame
stabilisation before getting a coal mill in service. Ignition of the oil is
with piped propane.

In the very early days of trialling biomass (2005 ish?) Drax dual fired coal and
wood with one or two modified coal mills being fed with wood pellets

The original Didcot (4x500MW) could operate on natural gas or coal
--
newshound
2021-01-14 13:26:44 UTC
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Post by The Other Mike
Post by newshound
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they  other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Agreed (could be the "handling" plant, assuming they have not actually
run out. Coal stacks and plant have problems with ice and freezing in
the winter.)
Can't just switch a boiler between coal and wood. Coal plants are "lit"
using oil, ISTR that some can be "duel fuelled" with oil or coal.
You can use oil up to about 30MW for a short while on some 500/660MW units if
the boiler is already hot enough, otherwise you destroy the turbine blades with
the wet steam. It's bloody expensive though and only really intended for flame
stabilisation before getting a coal mill in service. Ignition of the oil is
with piped propane.
In the very early days of trialling biomass (2005 ish?) Drax dual fired coal and
wood with one or two modified coal mills being fed with wood pellets
The original Didcot (4x500MW) could operate on natural gas or coal
I couldn't remember the details. I was offered a job at Marchwood Labs
to look at oil burner design, but nuclear seemed to be the future.
David
2021-01-13 18:19:13 UTC
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Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been
running flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's
worth by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Site shows 1.82 GW biomass. 3.28 GW coal.
Does each boiler power a pair of generators?
[Seems reasonable from those numbers.]
If so, assuming that the (3 * 1.2) gives 3.6 GW at full chat is the meter
on Gridwatch slightly under, given that it seems to stop at 3?

Either way I assume there must be other coal sites fired up to get up to
3.28 GW from coal.

https://www.powerstations.uk/coal-countdown/

Bit of a struggle finding up to date information.
This site says that Drax will stop burning coal next March.
Six boilers/units burning biomass, two burning coal.
Plans to convert to gas for the last two units.

Ratcliffe and West Burton plan to keep running for the moment, and can
supply 2 GW each.

Is there anywhere which shows which cal plants are fired up at the moment?


Idle curiosity as usual.

Cheers


Dave R
--
Dell Latitude 7280 with Full HD and Thunderbolt (woo hoo)
The Other Mike
2021-01-14 12:57:48 UTC
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On Wed, 13 Jan 2021 14:30:07 +0000, The Natural Philosopher
Post by The Natural Philosopher
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
They could get more by doing both - and its Drax, not 'someone'
My guess is that a boiler is down for maintenance. IIRC they had 4 1.2GW
coal boilers feeding 8 600MW generators (industry standard size) .
3 of those now burn wood and other biomass exclusively, they other one
may still burn coal, I am not sure. If one of them is down that's 3GW
down to 2GW.
Nope, pre-biomass conversion it was six dedicated boilers each individually
feeding six team turbines with 6 x 660MW electrical output (gross) Unit
consumption at Drax is around 15MW giving a maximum net output of 645MW, when on
coal each of the units at Drax could be overfired at 680MW for up to 30 minutes.
Range boilers where several boilers could feed into a common steam rail ended in
the UK with the demise of the up to 60MW units in the 1980's (1950's build)
120MW units (late 1950's onwards) were always unit based, one boiler per
turbine, but there are some oddities built in the early 1960's such as Blyth B
and Thorpe Marsh that had either two boiler combustion chambers or cross
compound turbines (or both) but regardless they were all unit and not range
based.

Post biomass conversion things changed. Drax unit one is rated at 660MW net, all
the other units are still rated at 645MW net.

Units one to four have to operate on Biomass, units five and six have to operate
on coal.

--
Brian Gaff (Sofa)
2021-01-13 17:26:36 UTC
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Depends on how efficient the plant is at burning coal cleanly I suppose.
Brian
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Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been running
flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's worth
by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
Cheers
Dave R
--
AMD FX-6300 in GA-990X-Gaming SLI-CF running Windows 7 Pro x64
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David
2021-01-13 18:23:12 UTC
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Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been
running flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's
worth by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
Also noting that the OCGT is fired up at the moment whilkst the CCGT is
nowhere near the stops.

Do we have a lot of capacity not working in CCGT?

Just puzzling over the economics.

Cheers



Dave R
--
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alan_m
2021-01-13 22:52:36 UTC
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Post by David
Do we have a lot of capacity not working in CCGT?
Just puzzling over the economics.
more gas being used directly for household heating???
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The Other Mike
2021-01-14 13:06:49 UTC
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Post by David
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been
running flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal plant
(IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their money's
worth by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
Also noting that the OCGT is fired up at the moment whilkst the CCGT is
nowhere near the stops.
Do we have a lot of capacity not working in CCGT?
Just puzzling over the economics.
Some OCGT capacity is converted CCGT capacity, there is around 2GW of CCGT
offline and mothballed since May 2020 when the operator went into
administration.

--
David
2021-01-14 18:45:51 UTC
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Post by The Other Mike
Post by David
Post by David
Looking at Gridwatch, coal is fired up but Biomass which has been
running flat out is now throttled back.
A cynical thought is that Biomass generation is by converted coal
plant (IIRC) at the same site, so has someone decided to get their
money's worth by firing up the coal plant and easing back on Biomass?
Also noting that the OCGT is fired up at the moment whilkst the CCGT is
nowhere near the stops.
Do we have a lot of capacity not working in CCGT?
Just puzzling over the economics.
Some OCGT capacity is converted CCGT capacity, there is around 2GW of
CCGT offline and mothballed since May 2020 when the operator went into
administration.
Every day is a school day. :-)

Thanks

Dave R
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