Ferrybridge power stations

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Ferrybridge power stations
Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station - geograph.org.uk - 35089.jpg
Ferrybridge C Power Station
Viewed from the west in August 2005
Ferrybridge power stations is located in West Yorkshire
Ferrybridge power stations
Location of Ferrybridge power stations
Country England
Location Knottingley
Coordinates 53°43′03″N 1°16′50″W / 53.71740°N 1.28058°W / 53.71740; -1.28058Coordinates: 53°43′03″N 1°16′50″W / 53.71740°N 1.28058°W / 53.71740; -1.28058
Status Operational
Commission date A station: 1927
B station: 1957
C station: 1966
Decommission date A station: 1976
B station: 1992
Power generation
Primary fuel Coal
Secondary fuel Biomass
Nameplate capacity A station:125 MW
B station: 300 MW
C station: 2,034 MW
SSE Ferrybridge

The Ferrybridge power station refers to a series of three coal-fired power stations situated on the River Aire near Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire, England.

The first station on the site, Ferrybridge A power station, was constructed in the mid-1920s, and was closed in 1976; the main building has been retained as workshops. Ferrybridge B was brought into operation in the 1950s and closed in the early 1990s.

In the 1960s, Ferrybridge C power station was opened with a generating capacity of 2 GW from four 500 MW stands; constructed by Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in 1965; on privatisation in 1989 ownership was passed to Powergen, then to Edison Mission Energy (1999), then to AEP Energy Services (American Electric Power) (2001) and to SSE plc (2004).

Two of the four units were fitted with Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant in 2009. In 2013 SSE indicated that the power station would not comply with the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) requiring the plant's closure by 2023 or earlier.

A 65 MW mixed fuel plant is under construction, expected to be operational in 2015.

Ferrybridge A (1917-1976)[edit]

Ferrybridge main building and switchgear house (c.1927)

Land at Ferrybridge was purchased by the West Yorkshire Power Company in 1917. Plans for a power station were prepared and submitted to the Board of Trade in March 1918. Because of a system change the following year with the Electricity Act 1919, the plans were put on hold. The plans were resubmitted to the Electricity Commissioners in January 1920. The plans were finally granted permission in November 1921, but delayed by a supply area reshuffle.[1] A 135 acres (55 ha) site was chosen with good access to coal, water, and good transport links including water transport.[2]

Construction of Ferrybridge A power station began in 1926 and the station began operating in 1927.[3] The initial station covered 32 acres (13 ha) of the site.[2] The main buildings contained the boilers, turbines, and offices and workshops, whilst a separate smaller building house the electrical switchgear.[4] Transportation connections included sidings connected to the LNER with facilities for handling wagons up to 20t, and a river wharf for transport by barge.[2] Wagon unloading was by a side tipper, into an automated weigher and then conveyors, whilst barge unloading was by a crane into the weighing machine.[5] The cooling water intakes were 550 ft (170 m) upstream of the wharves, initially with two filtered intakes with a minimum capacity (low water) of 3,000,000 imp gal (14,000 m3) of water per hour.[6]

The power generating equipment included eight 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) per hour water boiling capacity water tube boilers arranged in pairs sharing air draught and chimneys (166 ft (51 m) height). The boilers were designed to produce superheated steam at 315 psi (21.4 atm) at 700 °F (371 °C)[7] The turbine/generator section had two 3000rpm three stage reaction turbines driving alternators rated at 19MW continuous.[8] The alternators produced 50 Hz 3 phase AC at 11kV, which was stepped up to 33kV by two sets of three single phase transformers rated at 25MW per set.[8][9]

The main building of Ferrybridge A converted to use as workshops by RWE npower (2006)

The station passed into the ownership of the British Electricity Authority on the nationalisation of the UK's power industry, with the Electricity Act 1947. This company in turn became the Central Electricity Authority in 1954.

The station closed on 25 October 1976, at which point it had a generating capacity of 125 MW.[10]

Ferrybridge A's boiler room and turbine hall still stand today; its single large concrete chimney has been demolished.[when?] The buildings are now used as offices and workshops by the RWE npower Technical Support Group, who are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of power station plant from around the country.[3][not in citation given]

Ferrybridge B (1957-1992)[edit]

Ferrybridge B Power Station was constructed in the 1950s. It generated electricity using three 100 megawatt (MW) generating sets, which were commissioned between 1957 and 1959. The station originally had a total generating capacity of 300 MW, but by the 1990s this was recorded as 285 MW. After the UK's electric supply industry was privatised in 1990, the station was operated by PowerGen.[11] The station closed in 1992 and has since been completely demolished.[3][11]

In 2006 LaFarge began construction a plasterboard factory adjacent to the Ferrybridge C power station on the site of the former Ferrybridge B station to utilise the Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum) produced by FGD.[12]

Ferrybridge C (1966-)[edit]


Ferrybridge C began was commissioned in 1966.[13] The station used sets of 500MW turbo-alternators to generate its power.[14]

On 1 November 1965, three of the cooling towers collapsed due to vibrations in 85 mph winds. Although the structures had been built to withstand higher wind speeds, the design only considered average wind speeds over one minute and neglected shorter gusts. Furthermore, the grouped shape of the cooling towers meant that westerly winds were funnelled into the towers themselves, creating a vortex. Three out of the original eight cooling towers were destroyed and the remaining five were severely damaged. The towers were rebuilt and all eight cooling towers were strengthened to tolerate adverse weather conditions.[15][16][17] Following the accident, it was expected that the station would not be opened for some time after the scheduled date. However it was possible to connect one of the remaining towers to the first completed generating set and the station began generating soon after the expected date. The reconstruction of the destroyed towers began in April 1966.[18] The station first fed electricity into the National Grid on 27 February 1966.[18]


Ferrybridge C Power Station had four 500 MW generating sets.[when?] In addition to the main generating sets the plant had installed two gas turbines with a combined capacity of 34 MW;[when?] these are used to start the plant in the absence of an external power supply.

Coal supply was by rail transport and road transport; barge transport was also used until the late 1990s. The plant's two chimneys are 198 m (650 ft) and its eight cooling towers are 115 m (377 ft) high.[19]

Post-privatisation (1989-)[edit]

The power station was originally operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board, but ownership was passed to Powergen (1989) after privatisation of the UK's electrical supply industry. Ferrybridge Power Station, along with Fiddlers Ferry power station in Cheshire, was then sold to Edison Mission Energy in 1999. They were then sold on to AEP Energy Services Ltd (American Electric Power) in 2001, before both were sold again to SSE plc in July 2004 for £136 million.[3]

In 2008 the boilers were fitted with Boosted Over Fire Air in order to reduce the NOx emissions.[20]

In 2005 SSE took the decision to fit Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) to the plant, installing equipment to scrub half of Ferrybridge's output; the decision was required to partially meet the specifications of the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD);[21] in 2009 FGD was commissioned on Unit 3 and Unit 4.[22][23] The installation of FGD allowed SSE sign a 5 year agreement with UK Coal for 3.5 million tonnes of higher sulphur coal.[24]

On 30 November the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, officially opened a carbon capture pilot plant at Ferrybridge Power Station. The carbon capture plant was constructed in partnership with Doosan Power Systems, Vattenfall and the Technology Strategy Board.[25][26] The plant had a capacity of 100 tonnes of CO2 per day, equivalent to 0.005 GW of power.[27] The capture method chemistry was amine based.[28][29] (see Amine gas treating) The CO2 was not stored as the pilot plant was designed only to test the carbon capture element of the carbon capture and storage process. At the time of construction it was the largest carbon capture plant in the UK.[30]

The units without FGD (1 and 2) were scheduled to close by 2015 under the LCPD.[22] In December 2013 SSE announced that Ferrybridge would opt-out from (not comply with) the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU); requiring the plant to close by the end of 2023, or after 17,500 hrs of operation after 1 January 2016.[31][32]

Ferrybridge Multi-fuel (2011-)[edit]

On 31 October 2011 SSE was granted Section 36 planning permission to construct a 65 MW Multi fuel plant at its Ferrybridge C Power Station site.[33] The 68 MW plant was designed to combust mixed fuel including biomass, fuel from waste and waste wood. The plant is expected to be operational by 2015.[34]

In late 2013 consultations began for a second multifuel plant "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2" (FM2). The plant was initially specified be similar in scale of the first plant, and to have a capacity of up to 90 MW.[35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilson, Charles (29 March 1926). "ELECTRICITY (SUPPLY) BILL.". Hansard. 
  2. ^ a b c The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.2
  3. ^ a b c d Norfolk, Michael (31 October 2006). "INDUSTRY IN KNOTTINGLEY & FERRYBRIDGE". www.knottingley.org/. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. 
  4. ^ The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.3 & Fig.3
  5. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.503, col.3, Fig. 6
  6. ^ The Engineer, 28 October 1927, p.489, col.3; p.490, col.1
  7. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, cols. 2,3
  8. ^ a b The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, col.3
  9. ^ The Engineer, 4 November 1927, p.504, Fig. 8
  10. ^ Mr. Redmond (16 January 1984). "Coal-fired Power Stations". Hansard. 
  11. ^ a b "Table 3.7 - Generation Disconnections since 1991". http://www.nationalgrid.com/. National Grid. 2003. [dead link]
  12. ^ "All the right credentials". www.newsteelconstruction.com 15 (4). April 2007. pp. 25–27. 
  13. ^ MacLeay, Iain (2010). Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 2010. Department of Energy and Climate Change. Table 5.11, p.148. ISBN 9780115155260. 
  14. ^ Engineering 201: 445. 1966. 
  15. ^ Anon. "Industry in Knottingley and Ferrybridge: Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station". Knottingley and Ferrybridge online. Knottingly.org. Retrieved 15 December 2008. [dead link]
  16. ^ Ford, David N. (1994). Neil Schlager, ed. When Technology Fails: significant technological disasters, accidents, and failures of the twentieth century. Gale Research. pp. 267–270. ISBN 0-8103-8908-8. 
  17. ^ Moore, Tony; Lakha, Raj (20 November 2006). Tolley's Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management, Third Edition: Principles and Practice (3rd ed. (Hardcover) ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7506-6990-0. 
  18. ^ a b Haigh, Maurice (3 March 1966). "KNOTTINGLEY IN 1966". Pontefract & Castleford Express. 
  19. ^ "Case study - Hargreaves Industrial services". www.hargreavesservices.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ferrybridge CCPilot 100+ Power Station, United Kingdom". www.power-technology.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013. "Ferrybridge C power station details [..] The boilers were equipped with boosted-over-fire-air technology in 2008 to reduce NOx emissions" 
  21. ^ "SSE to fit FGD on Ferrybridge". ICIS Heren. 16 November 2005. 
  22. ^ a b "Ferrybridge power station". www.sse.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "Scottish and Southern Energy plc - Financial report for the six months to 30 September 2009". SSE. 11 November 2009. pp. 5, 7. "The removal, in January and February 2009, of the restrictions on running hours at Fiddler’s Ferry and Ferrybridge power stations which applied during 2008, following the installation of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment [...] Investment in 2009/10 [..] During that time, SSE [..] completed the installation of flue gas desulphurisation equipment at Fiddler’s Ferry and Ferrybridge power stations" 
  24. ^ "Agreement with UK Coal plc". SSE. 27 April 2009. 
  25. ^ "SSE opens carbon capture plant". Stock Market Wire. 30 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "Chris Huhne Opens UK's First Carbon Capture Plant" (Press Release). Department of Energy and Climate Change. 30 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "UK’S FIRST CARBON CAPTURE PLANT OPENS AT FERRYBRIDGE POWER STATION". www.doosanpowersystems.com. 30 November 2011. 
  28. ^ "Ferrybridge CCPilot100+ post-combustion carbon capture". Doosan Power Systems. February 2012. 
  29. ^ "£20 million carbon capture pilot plant to receive government support". Technology Strategy Board. 17 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "Largest carbon capture plant in UK opens in Yorkshire". The Guardian. 30 November 2011. 
  31. ^ "Future operation of thermal generation sites". SSE. 20 December 2013. 
  32. ^ Macalister, Terry (20 December 2013). "SSE to close two coal-fired power stations". www.theguardian.com. 
  33. ^ "(Decision letter) - Application for consent to construct and operate a multi-fuel generating station at Ferrybridge 'C' power station". Department of Energy and Climate Change. 31 October 2011. 
  34. ^ "New multi-fuel facility at Ferrybridge to create jobs". BBC News - Leeds and West Yorkshire. 2 April 2012. 
  35. ^ "Consultation begins for second multifuel power station at Ferrybridge". www.goolecourier.co.uk. 29 October 2013. 
  36. ^ "Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) Power Station". The Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 


  • Ferrybridge A
    • "The Ferrybridge Station of the Yorkshire Electric Power Company", The Engineer 144 , In three parts, via www.gracesguide.co.uk
    • No.1, 28 October 1927, pp. 489–490, illus. p.488 
    • No.2, 4 November 1927, pp. 503–506 
    • No.3, 11 November 1927, pp. 532–533 
  • Ferrybridge B
    • Ferrybridge B 1957-1992: The Life of a Power Station, Powergen, 1992 
  • Ferrybridge C
    • Report of the Committee of Inquiry Into Collapse of Cooling Towers at Ferrybridge, Monday 1 November, 1965, CEGB, 1966 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Blyth Power Station
Largest Power Station in the UK
Succeeded by
Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station