Canal network could be used to transport biomass for power plants

1/3/12 10:15 AM

The Guardian newspaper has reported on the potential for utilising Britain’s canal network for materials, including a new project by EDF and Veolia to move 360,000 tonnes of wood products a year on the Aire and Calder to feed furnaces at a planned new biomass plant in Pollington, south of Leeds.

The article, which was contributed to by FTA's Freight by Water, reports that:

“The river Thames and Manchester Ship Canal are already in regular use but the narrow canal system – built largely in the latter part of the 18th century – has been out of favour for decades because vessels are slower than trains or trucks. However, according to British Waterways, which oversees 2,200 miles of canals and inland waterways, 1.5m tonnes of freight was carried last year and this figure is expected to rise. In their industrial heyday, canals carried nearly 40m tonnes a year.

British Waterways is currently working with the East Midlands Development Agency and others on a number of pilot schemes to see whether goods can be taken off the road and on to water.
Dalkia, owned by the French companies EDF and Veolia, has just announced plans to move 360,000 tonnes of wood products a year on the Aire and Calder to feed furnaces at a planned new biomass plant in Pollington, south of Leeds. The plant will provide renewable power to light and heat 60,000 homes.

A spokesman for Dalkia said that canals were a "cleaner" way of moving fuel than by road and the company wanted to make the wider £120m biomass scheme as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Of the waterway being used, the article notes:

“The Aire and Calder Navigation Company made the River Aire navigable as far as Leeds in 1704 with the construction of locks. Two years later, the company made the River Calder navigable from Castleford to Wakefield. The Aire and Calder Canal still connects Leeds with Goole on the coast, 33 miles away, but in the past it allowed coal to be moved from the Yorkshire collieries for shipping overseas. Now coal tends to be brought from abroad and then carried by rail for use in big power stations such as Drax at Selby.”

The full article can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/01/canals-biomass-transport-power?newsfeed=true.

 

 

Snelling Christopher