Drax appoints Chesterfield Special Cylinders’ Integrity Management team to resolve hydrogen tube service issues


Chesterfield Special Cylinders’ Integrity Management (CSC IM) team’s in-depth knowledge of high pressure gas tube design, manufacture and standards has helped Drax Power to demonstrate that its hydrogen storage tubes adhere to Health & Safety Executive (HSE) requirements, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds.

CSC IM’s involvement has enabled almost 180 hydrogen storage tubes at Drax Power Station to continue in service without any disruption in operation until the next periodic inspection and test.  The tubes range in size from 460-litre to 600-litre.

The HSE had asked Drax to demonstrate that the mechanical properties of the tubes complied with the EIGA publication IGC Doc 100/11/E, over and above the periodic inspection and test process the tubes had recently completed.

As global experts in tube design, manufacture and standards, the CSC IM team was appointed by Drax to check the tubes complied with the HSE’s requirements. By tracing their manufacture records, CSC IM was able to prove that the tubes’ mechanical properties were well below those covered by the HSE’s EIGA document and therefore the document was not relevant in this instance.

As a result, the HSE agreed with Drax that it could rely on the recently-completed inspection and testing regime.

Had the issue not been resolved, it would have meant dismantling and replacing the entire gas storage installation, at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Paul Fletcher, auxiliary plant and compliance technician at Drax, commissioned the tubes’ original manufacturers Chesterfield Special Cylinders, to resolve the issue.

He says: “The tubes are critical to the plant’s operation.  To dismantle, remove and replace the entire installation – which was a distinct possibility – would have been very costly.

“The CSC IM team is known throughout the power sector for its expertise. We called them in to check we were doing the right thing.  CSC IM navigated the technicalities allowing us to carry on using the tubes.

The CSC IM team working for Drax was led by Daniel Millard.  He says: “This project benefitted from the CSC IM team’s in-depth product knowledge.

“While the principles of the document in question were sound they were not applicable to this installation and we had to prove that.

“The outcome was that we justified to the HSE that this installation could be signed off, allowing the cylinders to stay in service.”