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Finning, the UK supplier of Caterpillar equipment, has won a Birse Water contract to supply critical backup power for pumps at the UK’s largest pumping station, as part of the Fens flood protection.

Due to come on stream in 2010, the GBP38 million plant – on the Middle Level drain at St Germans near Kings Lynn – will help protect 70,000 hectares of land and 25,000 homes from the North Sea.

Finning is supplying six Cat 3500 series generators to power the six pumps, three of which provide emergency power for three pumps, which would normally be mains powered.

The other three generators are the sole source of power for the remaining three pumps.

The generator sets provide a total of 8160kWe power, generating at 690V with non-standard alternators specifically designed and manufactured for the project.

The company is responsible for delivery to site, offloading, installation, commissioning and site testing of the complete solution prior to handover.

Each generator set will have a day-fuel tank with a larger fuel-storage tank providing backup.

This would enable all six pumps to work continuously for ten days in the event of a complete mains power failure and serious flooding.

An additional auxiliary generator, supplied by Finning, provides a black start for the main generators plus power for the station’s other needs.

Each generator sits in its own plant room with Finning also supplying the plant-room ventilation, sound attenuation system, complete exhaust systems and the day fuel-storage tanks.

The ventilation and sound-attenuation system includes roof-mounted, penthouse inlet weather louvres and attenuators and wall-mounted, vertical-discharge attenuators and weather louvres, complete with automatic, motorised weather dampers.

When operational, the pumping station will be able to pump 100 tonnes of water per second, a 40 per cent increase on the existing station.

David Thomas, chief engineer for Middle Level Commissioners, said: ‘whether any of the pumps are operational is weather dependent.

‘Three pumps should be enough to cope with a typical annual flood, four would be needed for a serious one-in-ten-years flood, while all six would only need to operate for catastrophic flooding, the sort of event that we would expect only once in a hundred years.’ He added: ‘climate change is a major threat for the Fens so we had to act.

This project has been designed to provide protection up to 2050 and takes this threat into account.’

Finning (UK) Ltd

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