How Do You Name a Turbine?

​The Tyseley site, also known as Birmingham Bio-Power, is the first 10.3Mw biomass gasification facility in the U.K. This facility is instrumental in reducing the demand on natural energy resources by diverting 72,000 tonnes of waste wood from landfill each year. This waste wood will be gasified to generate clean, renewable energy and provide full time employment for local people.

Over its 20-year lifespan, the facility is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by an estimated 2.1 million tonnes and save 1.3 million tonnes of waste wood, otherwise destined for landfill.

Construction started in 2014 and is due for completion in March 2016. Following the installation of the powerful steam turbine Mike Drummond, Construction Manager, decided the turbine needed a name, so Mike decided to launch a competition.

“Commissioning has now commenced! Power is on, conveyors are turning, motors are running. The Power Station is gradually coming to life after 18 hard months of construction and 360,000 man hours achieved. Our beautiful steam turbine will be woken up and brought to life in the coming months. In the tradition of naming ships, I think it would be cool for our steam turbine to have a name. It must be a female name. (My rules) Some clues on her character: Strong, reliable, demanding, expensive, can go 24/7 if you feed her with what she needs. Please email me your suggestions.”

Entries from all over the world followed thick and fast and in the months that followed Mike made his decision in January during the steam turbine’s commissioning phase.

“The winning name for the steam turbine at Tyseley is Athena, suggested by Janet Fielding, HR advisor. Apart from liking the name, I think it has the right qualities that represent our steam turbine: Courage, inspiration, strength, crafts, and skill and endeavour.” To celebrate the formal naming of the turbine Jan was invited to site to perform the unveiling of the plaque.

The unveiling comes at the same time as the project proves its worth by successfully exporting 7MW of energy back into the national grid. The site has come a long way since construction began in January 2014 with the U.K. government promising the EU that 15 percent of all energy supplied will come from a renewal sources by 2020.

The site has generated a lot of interest with visits from Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise and Minister of State for Energy and students from local Birmingham City Universities.

The team has carried out 1,600 inductions, have seen more than 160 people working on the site at any one time and have completed 370,000 man hours.

“The full scale of this project’s success has yet to be realised but the atmosphere on site today was fantastic,” said Janet Fielding, HR advisor, who was thrilled when she realised that she was successful in naming the turbine. “You really appreciate the sense of pride the project team feels as they talk about the project and look back on what they have accomplished. It was an honour to be a small part of that today.”

Upon completion in March 2016, enough clean energy will be generated to power 17,000 homes. Engineers say the low emission technology used on this plant is pioneering and could soon be replicated around the world.

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