Lytag confirm Fairport as preferred contractor for new lightweight aggregate plant at Drax power station site
Lytag LWA (lightweight aggregate) was developed in the 1960s and at its peak was manufactured at three production units in the UK, the last of which closed in 2005.
Lytag Ltd are now looking to the future with the intention of constructing new production facilities for the manufacture of Lytag LWA in the UK.
The first of these facilities is to be established at the Drax power station site in order to make use of the ready supply of pulverized fly ash (PFA), which is the major constituent of LWA.
Lytag Ltd appointed Fairport Engineering Ltd as their preferred contractor for the design and build of the project in May 2012 and since then both organizations have been working towards finalizing the design of the plant.
The design, which will utilize new technologies combined with further development of the original process, will continue to allow Lytag Ltd to be a world leader in the production of lightweight aggregates. The plant will take PFA from Drax power station and add a controlled amount of water in specially designed dish pelletizing pans, to form rounded pellets.
These pellets will then be heated on a sinter strand to a temperature of around 1,100 degrees Centigrade, resulting in a hard, honeycombed structure of interconnecting voids within the aggregate. The lightweight aggregate pellets are round in shape and range in size from 14mm down to fines; these can then be screened to the required grading, depending on their final use.
The new facility will be a flagship project for Lytag Ltd as it will be the first facility of its kind to be constructed in the UK in over 30 years.
The development will bring a number of significant environmental and economic benefits in that it will be used to produce useful materials as opposed to sending the PFA to landfill. The new Lytag facility will further increase the diversion of PFA by around 200,000 tonnes a year. In 2011, Drax power station diverted 77% of its total ash production, which includes PFA, from landfill. Furthermore, the facility will displace the need for 400,000 tonnes a year of newly quarried aggregates.