September 20, 2016

Tata Chemicals Europe commissions £5.5 million turbine facility

Northwich: A new steam turbine, hailed as one of the most efficient in the UK, was officially opened in Cheshire today.

Martin Ashcroft, managing director of Tata Chemicals Europe, addressing the gathering at the launch event of the £5.5 million steam turbine

Owned and operated by Tata Chemicals Europe, the new £5.5 million turbine is housed at their Winnington CHP plant in Northwich, which is now one of the most efficient plants in the country capable of providing energy for 200,000 households – an area the size of Liverpool.

The project — backed by a £2.5 million European Regional Growth Fund grant from the UK government —has taken two years to complete. It will help provide energy for Tata Chemicals Europe’s sites across Cheshire, local businesses in the area and also for the National Grid.

Generating this electricity means that this volume of electricity doesn’t have to be generated elsewhere on the grid—saving 71,000 tonnes of CO2 in the UK, and goes a long way in helping the government meet decarbonisation requirements of a 75-percent-reduction by 2030. The government is seeking to achieve nearly 60 percent reductions in carbon emissions by 2030, and such initiatives play a crucial role in achieving reduction in carbon emissions.

Additionally, the project will improve Tata Chemicals’ combined heat and power quality assurance (CHPQA) score and the plant’s overall efficiency scores will also see a rise.

TCE’s general manager for energy Peter Houghton said: “This has been an unbelievably good project, and a really complex one that underpins our energy business moving forward. It simply could not be more important to the business.”

At the launch event, Tata Chemicals managing director R Mukundan thanked the local community for their unwavering support to the company

 Martin Ashcroft, managing director of Tata Chemicals Europe, said: “The steam turbine a great achievement by all involved. This is an incredibly proud moment for us and our future. Energy could not be more important for all our businesses.” Dr Ashcroft added: “The installation of this steam turbine was one of our key objectives for the past three years. Along with the restructuring and standalone sodium bicarbonate plant, the steam turbine is fundamental to the ongoing success of our Northwich operations.”

The turbine takes high pressure steam from heat recovery boilers and reduces its pressure and temperature for use in chemical plants, and in doing so produces electricity.

Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire Mr David Briggs remarked: "I am truly delighted that Tata is looking forward to a positive and long term future here in Northwich. Tata Chemicals Europe can hold their heads up high among the best scientific contributors in Cheshire, a county that also boasts Jodrell Bank. Thank you Tata for being a truly long term investor – what you have done here is important for local and national economies."

MP Graham Evans stated: "Tata is the largest private employer in the country, and is also a huge employer here in Cheshire. My constituency, Weaver Vale, is the gateway to the northern powerhouse, and this proves that is the case. It is very important to have companies investing in people. I am lucky to have Tata in my constituency and Northwich is lucky to have Tata in its town. I am proud as punch."

An estimated 12MW of electricity is expected to be produced on an ongoing basis and will be exported onto the national grid, which will correspond to over 100,000MWhrs in a typical year. Plans already exist to generate more electricity from the new infrastructure.

Also involved in the project is the energy supplier E.ON, which is a strategic partner in the installation of the turbine and the operation of the Winnington CHP site.

Mike Wake, head of business heat and power solutions at E.ON, said: “Working together to maximise the energy efficiency of this site is proof of the great relationship between Tata Chemicals Europe and E.ON.

“Taking advantage of heat energy as steam and using it more effectively means we can help reduce this site’s carbon footprint whilst ensuring a chemical works that has been operating since 1874 continues to go from strength to strength in such a commercially challenging time.”