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Västhamnsverket Power Station

The coal-fired power station at Västhamnsverket in Helsingborg was one of Sweden’s largest, so when a carbon tax was introduced it became a priority for conversion to biofuel.

Bullet Client Öresundskraft

Helsingborg’s energy company Öresundskraft commissioned WSP to carry out the pioneering conversion in two phases, stretching over several years.

Our approach

The first phase involved adapting the 200MW boiler so that it could burn up to 50% biomass alongside coal – in this case, wood pellets.

WSP had to ensure the fuel-handling system was functioning well and could cope with the new fuel, and make some modifications to the mills, so that the wood pellets did not ignite there before they reached the boiler.

The solution was to recirculate the flue gases to reduce oxygen content in the mills, and install a vacuum cleaning system to remove dust from the wood pellets and explosion doors above the storage space.

A conversion project on this scale had never been attempted before, so WSP was much in demand to relay their findings to the wider industry. The team presented papers on the project at several international conferences on clean energy.

The second phase, running from 2000 to 2006, involved the full conversion of the plant to accept 100% biomass.

The heat balance of the plant was changed so the backpass had to be completely modelled and retrofitted to cool the flue gas correctly. The ‘sooting’ system for cleaning dirt and dust from the surface of the equipment had to respond to the new fuel too.

WSP had to monitor the plant constantly to work out how to maintain the output. At the end of the project,  WSP had maintained the efficiency of the plant, a great achievement given the difficulties associated with the conversion.

WSP not only designed the project, but worked with the client to procure the equipment and monitored the boiler’s performance for two years, developing a computer programme which will now enable it to conduct the same analysis for other clients.