At the time of opening in the early 1970s Longannet was the largest power station in Europe with a capacity of 2,400 MW. Designed by Scottish architects Robert Matthew, Johnson Marshall & Partners, construction began in 1965 on land reclaimed from the Firth of Forth using ash from the Kincardine power station. The first electricity was generated in 1970 and the station was running at full capacity by 1973 once construction of all units was complete.
Longannet consumed up to 4.5million tonnes of coal per year. The coal was originally supplied via conveyors directly from the nearby Longannet Colliery until its closure in 2002. After that time coal was delivered via rail or road to the station’s coal store which could hold two million tonnes.
Each of the four front-wall-fired boilers, manufactured by Foster Wheeler John Brown, would burn 250 tonnes of coal per hour at full load. Fuel was fed to the boilers from 8 Pulverised Fuel Mills per boiler, each capable of processing 40 tonnes of coal per hour. Each boiler provided around 1,800 tonnes per hour of steam at a pressure of 168 bars and a temperature of 568°C to the turbo-generator sets. The four English Electric turbine sets were each arranged in two lines with a cross-compound arrangement, driving 8 x 300 MW GEC turbo generators.
Cooling water was drawn from the Firth of Forth a rate of 327,000 cubic metres per hour. Longannet did not have any cooling towers, instead discharging its cooling water into a mile long cooling channel, where heat was dissipated before the water reached a wide part of the Forth.
In 1994, the station received European funding to retrofit one of the generating units with equipment to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. This was achieved by injecting natural gas into the boiler. In 1996 the remaining three units were retrofitted, reducing the station’s emissions of nitrogen oxides by 40 percent. These works were expected to extend the useful life of Longannet Power Station until 2020.
In 2003 Longannet was identified as Scotland’s largest source of pollution. The power station closed in 2016 after 46 years of producing electricity. The closure marked the end of coal-fired generation in Scotland.
Buildings and Plant Detail
Longannet Image Gallery
Visit the plant detail pages above to view more images from each area of the power plant
Carbon Capture and Storage
The UK’s first ever Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) unit was commissioned at the station in 2009. CCS is a technology that can capture 90% or more of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation. The captured CO2 is then transported for permanent storage in depleted oil and gas fields.
The unit was closed in 2011 after it became clear that it was not financially viable. Plans for a UK Government funded project to convert Longannet to CCS were abandoned in 2011 and no further plans for CCS at Longannet were announced.