Gas Extraction Operation

Alkane Energy is one of the UK’s fastest growing independent power generators. The Company operates mid-sized ‘gas to power’ electricity plants providing both predictable and fast response capacity to the grid. Alkane now has a total of 140MW of installed generating capacity and an electricity grid capacity of 160MW.

Alkane has various onshore Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (‘PEDLs’) with its main operations based on a portfolio of coal mine methane (‘CMM’) sites. Alkane has the UK’s leading portfolio of CMM licences, enabling the Company to extract gas from abandoned coal mines.

The Challenge

Working closely with the main contractor (Alkane Energy), the civils sub-contractor (Whitepeak Construction) and the specialist installer (Water-Lines Solutions) BSSP were called in to provide a solution for the protection of an underground gas extraction operation covering an area of 5,800 square metres. The installation required a 1.5mm thick geo-membrane to act as a bund over the site to contain any oils which may be leaked during drilling.

Working closely with the main contractor BSSP specialists carried out a site survey which revealed that the main issue was how to protect the geo-membrane from the stone base and the on-site heavy plant.

The initial specification recommended that a 50mm depth sand blinding above and below would be required to protect the newly installed membrane. However this was considered unsuitable as it would be problematic to evenly distribute 50mm of sand on top of a smooth membrane.

The Solution

Following a site visit by BSSP and the contractors it was recommended that a heavy duty 300g/m2 protection fleece should be installed as an alternative to the sand blinding which, in terms of application, was far more effective and safer to install.

All joints of the geo-membrane and the 300g/m2 protection fleece were twin wedge welded and the seams air pressure tested.

One of the main stipulations of the contract was that the membrane should be verified and integrity tested by MEC Environmental. This was provided in a report issued to the client stating that the system was complete, safe and fit for purpose.

Added Value

The wealth of experience from the BSSP team along with unrivalled product knowledge enabled them to work with the main contractor to install a viable containment system. The supply and install package was delivered on time and at a cost which was substantially less than the branded option