An old power plant on a steel works in Luxembourg with a rare example of a classic gas engine alternator
Power Plant X is certainly one of the more historically interesting power stations I’ve visited, with a whole host of varying machinery of differing ages. Located within a still-live steelworks, the power plant itself has been decommissioned for quite some time, and parts are currently undergoing dismantling for the purpose of restoration.
This site is a real peek into the bygone era of the steel industry, and houses some of few remaining gas engines in the world. We’ll work through the site in chronological order…
1899 Gas Engine Hall
The gas engine hall and the machinery it contained was commissioned in 1899. This is where the real gems of this site were located, the first being an original 600 horsepower gas engine manufactured by Cockerill, the only one remaining from nine that once filled the cavernous hall. At the far end of the building sits the largest gas engine ever built – we’ll have a look at that shortly. The gas engines used blast furnace gas, a byproduct of burning coke in a blast furnace, to produce electricity.
1899 Pump house
The pump house was built at the same time as, and to service the gas engines. The building has fallen into a state of decay since its closure, and the ACEC electrically driven pumps have seen better days.
1938 No. 11 Gas Engine
Back to the gas engines, the colossal 11,000 horsepower gas engine was a later addition, being commissioned in 1938 by Ehrhardt & Sehmer in Saarbrücken and was the largest ever built – its four cylinders were capable of producing 6,000Kw of electricity until the machine was retired in 1979. This would have been among the last gas engines to have been built, owing to the emergence of the more efficient steam turbine shortly thereafter. Two such 1950s examples are also in place at one end of the hall.
As the site grew, so did the demand for electricity. A new station was commissioned in the 1940s to run alongside the existing gas engines. This new plant was coal fired, producing steam to drive turbines. The turbine hall had been stripped out, and the turbines were long gone, but large Stein & Roubaix boilers remain in the boiler house, along with their associated control booths.
1950s Alsthom Turbo-Generators
The final phase of expansion saw the installation of two Alsthom steam turbines alongside the No. 11 gas engine.