Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,126 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Battersea Power Station

From Graces Guide
1901. Battersea Municipal Electricity Works
1932. Power Station Under Construction August 1932.
1933. Flue-Gas Purification Plant.
1933. 67,200kw Turbo-Generator set at Battersea. From The Engineer, 2 June 1933
1934. Battersea Power Station. From British Commerce and Industry
1936. 105,000kW Turbo-Generator set. From The Engineer, 24 Jan 1936

1897 A site at Lombard Street was purchased for the Battersea Municipal Electricity Works by Battersea Borough Council

1900 The foundation stone was laid.

1901 Mather and Platt dynamos driven by Willans and Robinson engines had been installed.[1]

1928 Construction of a new power station began. The main buildings were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Sir William Arrol and Co constructed the steel framework.

1933 September: First phase commissioned (Battersea 'A').

1936 Metropolitan-Vickers supplied a 105,000 kW turbo-generator set.[2]

1937 September: Approval given for second phase (Battersea 'B'), with 100 MW turbine-alternator and 5 MW house set. Two more chimneys to be added eventually.

1938 Richardsons, Westgarth and Co shipped a large condenser for the second phase of construction. It was installed during the Blitz.

1941 Battersea "B" — commissioning of the 84 MW low-pressure unit of the 100 MW cross-compound set. See also below.

1944 Commissioning of the first section of the Battersea "B", consisting of a 100 MW cross-compound set—comprising a 16 MW high pressure unit (1,350 psi) exhausting to a twin-cylinder 84 MW secondary unit. The second and third sections comprised a 60 MW machine with hydrogen-cooled alternator (1951) and a further cross-compound machine of 100 MW (1953) of similar design to that of the first section.[3]

1950 Pimlico District Heating Scheme officially opened in July. Steam was taken from the main boiler-house range at Battersea "A", passed through 2 x 1.35 MW back-pressure turbines to a heat exchanger from which heated water was pumped through a tunnel under the Thames to a large thermal storage tank providing space heating for adjacent blocks of new flats.[4] Hot water was stored in a tall cylindrical tank, surrounded by a glazed aluminium frame to give it a modern and less 'tanky' appearance.

1950 160-ton alternator stator delivered from Metropolitan-Vickers by road. The level of Stewarts Road, Battersea, had to be reduced by 1 inch under the railway bridge to provide clearance.

1952 The second condenser for phase 2 was shipped from Hartlepool[5]

1953 Construction of final phase in progress, with fourth chimney.

1955 Fourth chimney completed.

1983 Ceased generating.


Note: There is some inconsistency in quoted ratings. Some figures probably refer to the output from the main alternator, while others may include the station unit alternators. Alternative figures in brackets.

The turbine-alternators were:-
TA1 67.2 MW (69 MW)
TA2 67.2 MW (69 MW)
TA3 105 MW (100 MW)

One of the 67.2 MW sets and the 105 MW set were made by Metropolitan-Vickers, and the other 67.2 MW set was by British Thomson-Houston.

Steam conditions 570-600 psi, 850-875 degF, from nine boilers.

For the second phase (Battersea 'B') the specified steam conditions were 1350-1420 psi, 950-975 psi, from two boilers, Nos. 10 & 11, supplying TA4. TA4 was not a single unit, but comprised a primary set producing 16 MW at 3000 rpm with steam at 1350 psi, and a secondary unit with two alternators on the same shaft line, one of 78 MW output and the other of 6 MW for 'house service'. The secondary set was designed to use the exhaust steam from the primary set, but alternatively it could take 'A' station steam at 600 psi, 875 degF.

Work on the first extension to 'B' station was being put in hand in 1945, with a 60 MW 3000 rpm set (TA5) and three boilers (Nos 12, 13, 14). One of the boilers was designed to take aproportion of lower quality pulverised coal, all the other boilers being stoker-fed. TA5 was a single line machine having an HP, IP and LP cylinder. The alternator was to be hydrogen cooled. There was no connection for 'A' station steam supply. There was also a separate turbine-alternator for house service, taking steam at 600 psi. Space would remain for another 100 MW set and three boilers.

The above information is taken from 'The Engineer', 2 June 1933 and 21 December 1945.

Information form The Engineer in 1936: TA3, the first of the 105 MW sets, was the largest built in Europe at the time. It went in the space originally intended for another 67.2 MW set. Steam conditions: 570-600 psi, 800-850 degF. HP, IP, & LP cylinder coupled in line with a 111 kVA alternator, two main exciters and a pilot exciter. Baumann multi-exhaust blading for LP.[6]. Steam admission: the first pair of governor valves admits steam from the steam chest to the first stage and operates for loads up to 63 MW; the second pair admits steam between stages 1 & 2 for loads up to 84 MW (the most economical load); the third pair admits steam after the 9th stage, i.e. after the 8th single impulse stage, for loads up to 105 MW. Hydraulic relays control the position of the governor valves. The amount of opening is determined by the relay pilot valve, whose position is determined by a cam on a horizontal rod. The rod is positioned by the common hydraulic relay controlled by the governor, and carries two other cams for the other two governor valves on that side of the turbine. An identical system is provided on the opposite side (there are governor valves in steam chests on either side of the turbine). The 100 MW main alternator rotor is 58in. in diameter, and weighs 82 tons. The forgings are assembled and kept in position by shrunk rings of high tensile alloy steel. Before leaving the works the completed rotor was balanced and tested at 25% overspeed. The 6250-kVA, 3000-volt house service alternator on the end of the main alternator shaft is for supplying power to the auxiliaries independently of the main station supply. The alternators are supported on a concrete block. It was not possible to use a concrete block for the turbine and condenser, because the space had originally been intended for a 67.2 MW set. Therefore a steel frame foundation was specified. This was of heavy contruction to avoid resonant vibration.[7]

The following information is mainly from the Wikipedia entry.

'B' Station: Three turbine alternators, all made by Metropolitan-Vickers. This consisted of two sets which used 16 MW high-pressure units exhausting to a 78 MW unit and associated with a 6 MW house alternator, giving these units a total rating of 100 MW. The third unit consisted of a 66 MW machine associated with a 6 MW house alternator, giving the unit a rating of 72 MW. Combined, these gave the 'B' station a generating capacity of 260 MW, making a total of 503 MW.

All boilers were made by Babcock and Wilcox. The 'B' station also had the highest thermal efficiency of any power station in the country for the first twelve years of its operation.

The London Power Company had developed an experimental technique for washing flue gases in 1925. It used water and alkaline sprays over scrubbers of steel and timber in flue ducts. The gases were subject to continuous washing, and in the presence of the catalyst iron oxide, sulphur dioxide was converted into sulphuric acid. Battersea Power Station was one of the world's first commercial applications of this technique. This process was applied at Battersea, but was stopped in the 'B' Station in the 1960s, when it was discovered that the discharge of these products into the Thames was more harmful than the gases would be to the atmosphere.

On 17 March 1975, the 'A' Station was closed after being in operation for 40 years. By this time the A Station was co-firing oil and its generating capacity had declined to 228 MW.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] The Engineer, 4 Oct 1901
  2. The Engineer 1936/01/24
  3. [2] 'Electricity Supply in the UK: A chronology' Electricity Council, c. 1987
  4. [3] 'Electricity Supply in the UK: A chronology' Electricity Council, c. 1987, p.65
  5. Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Thursday 28 August 1952
  6. [4] The Engineer, 24 Jan 1936
  7. [5] The Engineer, 31 Jan 1936