HF4 Turbo Blower House, Belgium
The power station is part of the HF4 Blast Furnace site and was used to supply electricity directly for steel-making.
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It’s always fun finding new places and having a look around with no idea what might be inside. We had visited the HF4 blast furnace last year but like everyone else at the time we missed the blower house. Fast forward to 2016, Spider Monkey and I gave ourselves just a couple of days to plan a last-minute trip to visit some of Europe’s industrial sites and we remembered how promising this little building looked. Closer examination on a map got our hopes up so we headed back to the site to have a look around. The compressors had been covered with enclosures, hiding them away which was a shame but the little blower house was good to visit. It’s amazing what you can find when you have a quick look!
History of the HF4 Compressor House
The Compressor House, or Turbo Blower House is an integral part of the HF4 Blast Furnace site in Belgium. The production of iron requires a constant supply of air to be blown through the blast furnace as high pressure – hence the name “blast” furnace. The process of compressing the air works just like a power station in reverse. Rather than high pressure gasses (usually steam) driving the turbines, which in turn drive an alternator in a power station, almost exactly the same equipment is used the other way around. The electricity powers the motor, which in turns drive the blades in the compressor to compress the air. The power and steam was provided from a near-by power station at Monceau-sur-Sambre (often called Power Plant IM) via a huge cable-run and pipeline connecting the two sites. A stand-by diesel generator is also housed in the turbine hall. The blast furnace and its compressor house was mothballed in 2008 and the nearby power station was closed down shortly after in 2009.
There were a large number of local control panels, but most of the control operations would have been performed at the blast furnace’s main control room.