Richborough Cooling Towers, Kent, April & June 2011
Visited this site on two occasions: firstly in April with my gf. Then again in June with Dicky21 and 2 other non-members after the pools had been drained. I guess to some extent once youíve seen one cooling tower youíve seen them all, and after my experience at Willington in Derbyshire I found these a somewhat mediocre explore. One interesting feature not present at Willington was the presence of the turbine hall and control room (albeit a skeletal frame). I mainly recorded this site on 35mm, but havenít the equipment to transfer them to my computer yet.
Work began on Richborough Power Station in the late 1950s, and was finally opened in 1962 as a 342MW coal fired station, burning coal from nearby Kent coalfields. In 1971 the plant was converted to oil, however the site quickly became costly as the price of oil rose during the 1973 oil crisis. In 1989-90 the plant underwent conversion to a new experimental fuel called Orimulsion.
Orimulsion was a cheap heavy oil and water based fuel, formed from natural bitumen in Venezuela. Initially it was hoped that this fuel would be a cheaper alternative to oil. However Orimulsion soon fell into disrepute when a local farmer claimed damages against PowerGen for loss of his crops, and locals began to notice damage to the paintwork of their cars, linked to acid rain from the plantís sulphur emissions. Other environmental concerns facilitated the clousure of the plant which finally occurred in 1996.
Today the site lays derelict with only the three cooling towers, stack and turbine hall remaining. The towers are scheduled for demolition this year, but as far as I am aware are still standing. The plan is to develop the site into a park which would included a recycling plant and a biomass and gasification plant. The scheme claims that 1400MW of energy will be produced (including the Thanet off-shore wind farm) when fully operational. For more information visit: http://www.richboroughenergypark.co.uk/