£7.2 Boiler Project Full Steam Ahead

A £7.2 million investment is being pumped into British Salt to replace the existing 50-year old steam boilers. The new boilers, with a combined capacity of 72 MW, will arrive on site this autumn and be installed in a new, purpose-built building.

Planning permission for the building was granted in April, and since then the project team on site has been busy diverting some services in preparation for the construction work.  Site clearance is now almost complete, and the civil construction contract has been awarded, with work scheduled to commence shortly.

One topic the project team has become very knowledgeable on is the transportation of very large and heavy items from Ellesmere Port Docks to Middlewich.  This has not been without its challenges for both British Salt and the specialist transport company who are to deliver and install the boilers. 

Prior to delivery, the new boiler house outer shell will be constructed and clad, with the exception of one end.  The boilers will then be skated into position and the building completed.  Whilst this might appear straightforward, the largest items (the main boilers) are over 12m long, 6.2m wide and 4.5 m high – not to mention each having a weight of 90 tonnes!

The site works will be the highly visible side of progress, however, behind this are months of detailed specification, engineering, planning, pipe work modelling, safety studies, scope preparation and tendering. 

Designers have modelled the new installation using 3D software and from this, all detail required for fabrication is being produced.  Having a 3D model of the plant is also extremely useful when assessing the design for constructability, operability and maintainability. These exercises have been carried out in conjunction with the British Salt site teams and they’ve been extremely valuable in ensuring that an optimal final design is achieved.

This is a great project in British Salt’s 50th Anniversary year, as once the new boiler plant is completed, the site will have a world class, highly efficient boiler plant – helping to secure production for the next 50 years.