The Energy Blog 55-tonne generator that starts on air is lifted into place
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55-tonne generator that starts on air is lifted into place

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The huge crane at La Collette Power Station was put to test last week when Jersey Electricity’s new 55-tonne, ‘black start’ Sulzer Diesel generator was lifted from its trailer on to its newly laid concrete bed ready for refurbishing. When complete, it will weigh in at 78 tonnes.

The generator arrived in Jersey from Lisbon, Portugal, on 16 March. Since then, 350 tonnes of concrete that formed the bed for one of the original GEC Steam Turbines, installed in 1965 and scrapped in 2011, have been removed and recycled, and a new bed has been laid for the Sulzer. This was carried out by Geomarine during a 12-hour continuous pour when 426 tonnes of new concrete was laid, ferried in by a stream of Ronez wagons. In addition, six tonnes of reinforcing steel and almost four tonnes of post tensioning bars were used.  

The 5.5MW ‘black start’ generator is an eight-cylinder version of JE’s four existing 11MW Sulzers. It is designed to start using compressed air and would restore full supplies to the Power Station in the unlikely event of complete blackout.

It will be installed by Madeira sub-contractor Vapour Ilhas who installed two of the existing Sulzers in 2012. The cost of the project is in the region of £2m.

Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘While we continue to invest heavily in our importation strategy, with another £40m power cable to France due to be laid this year, we continue to maintain La Collette in case of emergencies. This power unit will provide additional insurance in the unlikely event of a major interruption to imported supplies and it will help us to meet our published Supply Security Standard.’