A major plant which boosted steelmaking in its former life is to be demolished on the Teesworks site.
The Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI) plant, near the Redcar Blast Furnace, is set to be brought down in an explosive demolition on Wednesday, 19 October, from 9am.
The huge facility was built in 2013 and blew finely powdered coal into the centre of the blast furnace to make the steelmaking process more efficient. It worked by reducing the amount of coke the blast furnace required.
This, in turn, meant more iron ore was put into the process which meant more liquid iron from the bottom of the furnace. This led to an increase in production from 8,500 tonnes per day to 10,500 tonnes.
It is also understood the £37million plant paid for itself in its first year of operation through efficiency savings.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “As ever, being able to build at Teesworks and move forward with investors means we have to knock things down first and this is our next demolition to deliver.
“We’re on track to bring down all major former steelworks sites before the end of this year – and the terrific progress being made has seen us unlock hundreds of acres of land for development.
“This is one of the biggest, most complex and condensed demolition programmes to ever take place in the UK. But rest assured, this effort will be rewarded as thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future begin to rise from this rubble.”
Unlike the blast furnace, the PCI plant could be switched on and off relatively easily. When it came under the control of the South Tees Development Corporation, efforts were made to sell the plant, but these were ended due to limitations around its warrantee and the plant’s insurance.
There was also the potential to sell the PCI plant for parts – but this still did not prove to be a viable option.
Bringing down the plant through explosive demolition has been judged to be the best solution. Workers from local firm Thompsons have spent months cleaning the plant ready for its weather-dependent demolition on Wednesday.