Grain Power Station

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Grain Power Station
Grain Power Station - - 1354932.jpg
LocationIsle of Grain
Coordinates51°26′43″N 0°42′54″E / 51.445181°N 0.715028°E / 51.445181; 0.715028Coordinates: 51°26′43″N 0°42′54″E / 51.445181°N 0.715028°E / 51.445181; 0.715028
Commission date1979
Decommission date2012
Thermal power station
Primary fuelOil-fired
Tertiary fuelNatural gas
Combined cycle?Yes
Power generation
Units operational5 (2 oil, 3 gas)
Make and modelAlstom (CCGT)
Nameplate capacity1,320 MW (1,770,000 hp) (oil) and 1,275 MW (1,710,000 hp) (gas)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

grid reference TQ886753

Grain Power Station is a CCGT power station and former oil-fired power station in Kent, England, with operational capacity of 1,275 megawatts (1,710,000 hp) owned by Uniper (formerly E.ON UK).

Grain History[edit]

Grain was built on a 250-acre (100 ha) site for the nationalised Central Electricity Generating Board. It was built by several contractors including John Laing Construction (Civils), the Cleveland Bridge Company (Steel Frame & Cladding), N. G. Bailey (Electrical), Babcock & Wilcox (Boilers) and GEC Turbine Generators Ltd (steam turbines) beginning before 1975.[1] It opened in 1979. It was located on the Isle of Grain, where the River Medway flows into the Thames Estuary. The station had the second tallest chimney in the UK,[2] at 244 metres (801 ft), visible from a wide area of North Kent and parts of South Essex. The chimney was built by specialist contractors Bierrum and Partners Ltd; Drax Power Station has the tallest chimney, at 259 metres or 850 feet. This chimney was demolished at 11am on 7 September 2016. Grain adjoins the site of the BP Kent oil refinery, which closed in 1982. The station burned oil to drive, via steam turbines, two 690 megawatts (930,000 hp) (gross power output – but 30 megawatts (40,000 hp) was used on-site, leaving 660 megawatts (890,000 hp) for export to the Grid) alternators. The station was capable of generating enough electricity to supply approximately 2% of Britain's peak electricity needs.

The station was originally designed to have a total capacity of 3,300 megawatts (4,400,000 hp) from five sets of boiler/turbine combinations. The two remaining oil-fired generating units were mothballed by Powergen in 2002 and 2003, but almost immediately the company began to consider reopening the plant as electricity prices increased rapidly. It was operated by E.ON UK who also operated the nearby Kingsnorth coal-fired station, now also decommissioned.

The plant did not meet the emissions requirements of the Large Combustion Plant Directive and was required to close by 2015.[3]

However, due to the rising costs of maintaining the plant, E.ON UK, the owners of Grain Oil power station, announced that Grain was to be mothballed and the site closed by 31 December 2012.[4] Grain Oil power station generated no further electricity but was maintained as standby capacity for the grid.

In April 2014 the dismantling process at the site began, being carried out by Brown and Mason Ltd; it was expected to take around 2 years to complete. On 10 May 2015, three buildings on the site were destroyed. Three of the five boiler houses were demolished by explosives on Sunday 2 August 2015. The 244m-high chimney was demolished on 7 September 2016.[5] Until 2014, BBC Radio Kent maintained an Outside Broadcast reception antenna on top of the chimney. The chimney is now officially the largest structure to ever be demolished in the United Kingdom beating the New Brighton Tower which won the title almost one hundred years ago.[6]

New Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant[edit]

A new 1,275MW plant consisting of three natural gas-fired Combined Cycle Gas Turbine units capable of generating enough electricity to supply around one million homes has been constructed on the site. Construction work by Alstom started in May 2007, finished in May 2010, and cost £580 million. One of the gas turbines was first fired on 2 June 2010. The overall efficiency was expected to be 72%.

The power station is able to transfer up to 340MW of heat energy recovered from the steam condensation to run the vaporisers in the nearby Liquefied natural gas terminal, allowing for a reduction in carbon emissions of up to 350,000 tonnes a year.[7]

It has three GT26 gas turbines. The whole scheme is designed to three Alstom KA26 Single-Shaft Combined Cycle Power Plant Power Blocks; these include a STF30C reheat steam turbine, a heat recovery steam generator and a TOPGAS hydrogen-cooled turbogenerator each.[8]


  1. ^ "A – Z list of Bridges Built by Cleveland Bridge Company". Newcastle University. Archived from the original on 27 May 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  2. ^ Flue gas stack illustration
  3. ^ "Large combustion plant directive". E.ON UK. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010.
  4. ^ "E.ON UK announces oil-fired Grain-A power station to be mothballed and the site closed by 31 December 2012". E.ON UK.
  5. ^ "chimney_at_grain_power_station_to_become_tallest_concrete_structure_ever_demolished". Kent Online. 30 August 2016. Archived from the original on 31 August 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Grain CHP". E.ON UK. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  8. ^ TOPGAS Archived 6 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]