Drax Power Station is the biggest single site renewable generator in the UK. Located near Selby, North Yorkshire, it has a capacity of 3,906 megawatts and supplies 6% of the country’s electricity needs, including 11% of its renewable power.

Sewell Construction is currently Drax Power Ltd’s core civils partner, with a full time team of 13 working on the site and undertaking more than 1,000 individual work activities a year under the instruction of the Drax Engineering Teams. These civil works range from refurbishing buildings installing new drainage, to tarmacking and re-roofing works.

The latest work to be undertaken at the site involves the reconfiguring of an ash pit to improve its efficiency – adding to the portfolio of project work which Sewell has already completed for Drax outside of the core civils contract work.

Ash is removed from the bottom of the boilers using high pressure water which is then discharged into concrete ash pits. The water is used to cool and transport the ash. New wedge wire filter screens are being installed which will ensure the ash remains in the pit as the water filters through to be reused. The ash is grabbed from the wet side pit and left to dry before being removed and recycled.

As part of the project, which began in early July and runs until late August, the Sewell Construction team has enlisted a specialist contractor to cut through the thick concrete walls of the pit before installing new stainless wedge wire screens.

Geoff Smith, Project Manager at Sewell Construction, said: “The biggest part of the job is cutting through the concrete, which is 900mm thick at the bottom compared to 550mm at the top. Huge diamond track saw blades are in use to cut through the concrete.

“We’re working to tight deadlines during a planned outage period. As we’re working in a live environment, we’re mindful of safety and ensure big machinery operating around the area is segregated and our team is protected from noise and vibration”.

Dave Grant, Lead Engineer at Drax, said: “Work to modify the ash pit is progressing well and we are expecting the work to be completed to a high standard, to programme and within budget. This is a continuation of our successful partnership with Sewell.”

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