With the UK government planning on investing £300 Billion into infrastructure projects by 2020/21, bulk materials handling will be increasingly in demand over the next few years. So it was opportune that, on 28th February 2018, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers hosted a day-long seminar at their London Headquarters at Birdcage Walk, entitled “Bulk Handling in Large Infrastructure Projects”. The audience were there to hear lessons learnt on the bulk handling management and systems from many current infrastructure projects underway across the UK; including transportation projects such as High Speed Two (HS2), Lower Thames Crossing, Thames Tideway Tunnel and the Northern Line Extension. Two other presentations focussed on the UK power sector; one being about Drax Power’s Ecostore facility and its associated biomass handling systems and the other, given by Fairport Engineering, covering current projects at Hinkley Point C and Lynemouth power stations, pictured below.
The differing reasons that bulk materials handling technology is being used in these two projects is an interesting comparison to make. On the one hand, at Lynemouth where the station is being converted from coal to biomass (wood pellet) firing, new technology such as air-supported conveyors, waffle bottom silos and stringent fire and explosion prevention systems have all had to be incorporated in order to accommodate the change in fuel over the station’s remaining lifetime. Conversely, the significantly more traditional systems being constructed at Hinkley Point C are to facilitate the delivery by ships of the construction raw materials (sand & aggregates) during the 7 to 8 years of the construction period. In either case the systems will, to varying degrees, provide significant “green dividends”; Lynemouth by the production of greener energy than can be achieved from coal and Hinkley by the removal of many road traffic miles that would otherwise be required to deliver the sand and aggregates required for such a major construction project.
It is understood that Fairport’s paper was well received and prompted a lively discussion in the question & answer session that followed. Perhaps as a result of this Fairport was delighted to accept an invitation from the Minerals Engineering Society to present a similar paper to its Annual Symposium on May 24th 2018.
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