Two of three units shut down at RWE npower biomass power plant in Tilbury, England, as a result of fire will not reopen until July

LOS ANGELES , March 1, 2012 () – The recent fire at the RWE npower biomass power plant in Tilbury, England--Britain’s biggest dedicated biomass station--resulted in the temporary closure of three units, with restart dates set for either April or July, Reuters reported March 1.

Unit 8 will restart on April 2 at the earliest, and Units 9 and 10 will begin operations again July 30, according to RWE in a market message.

The blaze began Feb. 27 on the site’s fuel storage facility, which housed about 4,000-6,000 tonnes of wood pellets.

The fire was considered challenging because of the technical complexities from the ignited wood pellets, according to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer David Johnson.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The three units generate 750 MW overall at the plant, which had only begun producing electricity a month ago after RWE switched from using coal-fired generation units to ones that use only wood pellets.

The facility is estimated to use about 2.3 million tonnes of wood pellets, more than 90% of which are sourced from U.S. or Canada, Reuters reported.

The facility will close by the end of 2015 because of a European Union directive that would force the shutdown of heavily polluting power plants.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on March 1, 2012.

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