UK – CANADA – What is said to be the largest ever single shipment of biomass docked and discharged this week at Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Humber International Terminal (HIT) at the Port of Immingham after a 34 day voyage from Pinnacle Pellet’s Westview Terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The freight consisted of nearly 60,000 tonnes of wood pellets bound for the Drax power station. The cargo was carried in aboard the Liberian registered Popi S, a first for a Panamax class ship.
The Popi S was chartered by Grieg Star Shipping in Norway to collect from Pinnacle, a company which produces 56% of Canada’s total wood pellet production and which is currently constructing its seventh intermodal terminal to process this type of fuel. Westview was built at a cost of CAN$42 million to tranship pellets from inbound trains into suitable vessels, loading the ships at around 2,000 tonnes per hour.
Upon arrival in the UK the pellets were discharged using ABP’s bespoke continuous ship unloaders, which feed the product onto a conveyor system connected to Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal (IRFT), the world’s largest dedicated biomass handling facility, for storage in eight huge silos each capable of holding 25,000 tonnes of biomass, before being loaded onto trains for the final part of its journey.
The world-beating shipment forms part of ABP’s Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd, which will see it supply up to six million tonnes of biomass per year to the power station as part of its conversion to low carbon electricity generation. ABP Director Humber, John Fitzgerald commented:
“This shipment marks a significant milestone not only in our partnership with Drax, but in the development of the biomass and renewable energy sectors globally. This is a very exciting time for our ‘Energy Estuary’ and we’re extremely proud to be at the forefront of the renewables industry on the Humber, working closely with partners including Drax, to drive innovation, boost the regional and national economy and fuel the Northern Economic Powerhouse.”
Renewable energy is becoming the norm these days, as opposed to the mere trendsetter it has been viewed as in the past. With oil prices fluctuating and gas supplies open to possible abuse the world is searching for ways to supply power which are sustainable and wood pellets have become a serious alternative to other carbon fuels. Drax Head of Supply Chain & Logistics, Graham Backhouse said:
“This shipment provides further evidence of our new supply chain supporting the transition from coal to sustainable biomass at Drax. We are transforming the UK’s largest Power Station into one of Europe’s largest generators of renewable electricity and this shipment is another example of how we provide the UK with sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.”