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Steam rises again from Battersea Power Station

The team at A1 Flue Systems are full of pride at seeing steam rise from one of the iconic chimneys at Battersea Power Station in London for the first time in more than 35 years.

A1 Flue Systems managing director, John Hamnett.

In February 2019 the company announced that it had secured a multi-million-pound contract to manufacture British-made chimney systems to be installed inside two of the four iconic 101-metre tall wash towers and chimneys at the Grade II listed building.

Now that the chimney sections that link the Southwest chimney to the satellite energy centre have been installed by A1 Flue Systems all commissioning and steam tests have been conducted on the system, which has resulted in a small plume rising from the chimney on the London skyline.

A1 Flue Systems managing director, John Hamnett, says that steam rising from the wash tower is the culmination of nearly 10 years’ work for the company, which employs 140 people.

Mr Hamnett said: “Battersea Power Station has been a huge project for A1 Flue Systems – one that has been a decade in development – so to see steam finally coming out of the top of the wash tower is a very proud moment for us.”

“It’s the result of a lot of hard work by our dedicated teams of engineers, manufacturers and installers at A1, who have worked hand in hand to produce a modular chimney system that could be built in sections at our factory in Ollerton and then craned into position on site.”

The chimneys were refurbished and rebuilt as part of the redevelopment of the decommissioned coal-fired power station on the south bank of the River Thames into residential properties, shops, restaurants and office space – and A1 was challenged to design a flue system that could fit inside the structures.

It developed eight seven-metre-tall modular sections, which were craned up to the top of the chimneys and carefully lowered into position. It was an extremely tight installation, with as little as 50mm free on either side of the wash towers. Within each of the modular sections, there were 950mm, 850mm and 675mm diameter flues that connected to the boilers and combined heat and power engines at the site’s energy centre.

Mr Hamnett added that the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station has been one of the most challenging projects that A1 has been involved with because of the level of complexity.

“We came up with a unique modular design that could be constructed offsite and then installed section by section – and, because of site constraints, we only had a four-hour window to lift each section,” he said.

“The design of the flue system also needed to consider future access for maintenance and checks, which presented an early challenge. An entry via the basement has been constructed, which will allow engineers to enter the wash towers with platforms installed every four metres so that inspections can be carried out.”

Reflecting on the achievement, Mr Hamnett said: “Being able to add such an iconic UK landmark to our portfolio of high-profile projects is amazing, as Battersea Power Station is the latest in a long line of iconic projects for a company that prides itself on being the best of British in both engineering and manufacturing capabilities.”

12 December 2019

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