Tata Chemicals Europe has officially opened a new £5.5m turbine which will efficiently provide energy for its soda ash business in Cheshire, UK.

The turbine, the beneficiary of a £2.5m Government European Regional Growth Fund grant, is housed at Tata Chemicals’ Winnington CHP plant – which as a result performs at more than 80% efficiency.

General Manager for Soda Ash at Tata Chemicals Europe, Alan Runciman, said: “Anyone involved in synthetic soda ash manufacturing will know that it’s an energy-intensive industry, where the cost of energy makes up the largest part of the overall cost base.

"This turbine allows us to provide power for our manufacturing process and produce soda ash much more efficiently.”

Head of Sales for Soda Ash, Craig Thornhill, added: “As the UK’s sole manufacturer of soda ash, it is crucial that we remain a reliable and long term partner to the UK Glass industry, which relies heavily on our product and service.”

In 2013, Tata Chemicals acquired Winnington CHP so that it could take full control of its energy costs. Since then, the company’s energy team has maximised the plant’s efficiency and thereby dramatically reduce its carbon footprint.

The £5.5m investment has transformed the CHP plant, making it one of the most efficient CHP plants in the UK. The project will ensure that soda ash and sodium bicarbonate have affordable energy for the next decade.

The soda ash business has reduced its carbon footprint by 10% in the past three years and a further 15% is planned for the next five years. This will maintain Tata Chemicals Europe’s position as one of the world’s lowest carbon emitters from a synthetic soda ash process.

The project, which took two years to complete and install, culminated in an opening ceremony headlined by MP Graham Evans.

Managing Director, Martin Ashcroft said, “The opening of the steam turbine represents a key moment for the soda ash business.

"The new steam turbine is perfectly sized for our operation and as a result, the overall plant is much more efficient. The investment ensures that soda ash has affordable energy for the long-term and underpins the long term future of the business.”