VPI Immingham is a combined heat and power (CHP) plant near Immingham, on the South Bank of the river Humber. It is one of the largest CHP plants in Europe, capable of generating 1,240 MW – about 2.5% of UK peak electricity demand and up to 930 tonnes of steam per hour, which is used by nearby oil refineries to turn crude oil into products such as gasoline.
Completed in 2004 and expanded in 2009, VPI Immingham is one of the cleanest and most efficient power plants in Europe. At full capacity, it saves 2.5 million tonnes of CO2per year, the equivalent emissions of 1 million cars, compared with a conventional coal plant. The plant is fuelled by natural gas and surplus refinery gas, with liquid fuel as a backup.
As a power plant, safety is at the core of the business and great care is taken to ensure the safety of personnel, and to protect the surrounding environment.
VPI Immingham burns gas in large turbines, which have an output 11 times larger than a jumbo jet engine. The heat is exhausted at 640 degrees C from the gas turbines and it travels straight into large boilers. These use the heat to produce high pressure steam which is piped to the refinery. Additional burners allow surplus refinery gas, that might have otherwise been flared to the atmosphere, to be burnt efficiently in the boiler.
The high pressure steam is directed to large steam turbines where it is expanded and converted into electrical energy. Part way through, the turbine steam is extracted to provide steam (at 50 times atmospheric pressure and 450 degrees C) to adjacent refineries which provide 25% of the UK refining capacity.
The majority of electricity produced is exported at high voltage (400,000 V) to the National Grid and then on to households in the UK. The remainder is used by a local refinery.
Vitol Power International Immingham (VPI-I) is committed to operating a fuel efficient and environmentally friendly power generation plant supplying electricity and steam needs to local industry and the National Grid. Overall efficiency of the plant is demonstrated by VPI-I qualifying as a ‘good quality’ CHP under the CHPQA scheme.