Sunday, 19 May 2013

Our impressions of the our Eco-Trip

From Pippa Jolles and Emily Matson-Thomas, year 8

On our Eco-Committee trip, we went to Aberthaw Power Station and Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Centre.

Aberthaw Power Station and the view across the Bristol Channel

Our first visit was to Aberthaw, where on arrival we were shocked at the scale of it, and we saw how massive these power stations need to be to even supply a part of a small country like Wales! It was so big that before the station was built, the site was actually an entire golf course.

Firstly we were taken to their education building for a presentation on what goes on inside the station, and from what we could understand there was an immense amount of precision, technology and science that goes into supplying us with electricity in the most efficient way possible. Our tour guides explained that Aberthaw is in many ways more eco-friendly than other power stations because they have now scaled down to three turbines that produce more power, making it more efficient. Also, as of 2008, they have installed flue gas desulphurization equipment, which decreases the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions by 90%, so it won’t contribute as much to climate change. Also two thirds of their coal is from Wales, they use biomass supplied locally, and they are currently trialling a new Carbon Capture system, the first in Europe, which has only ever been tested in lab conditions.

We then went on a tour around the station seeing the control room, that looked like the inside of a spaceship, where all the energy is produced (we didn’t hear much about that because we had to wear ear plugs for safety!) and outside where they use seawater as cooling water. They asked us to spot the spelling mistake in the “Danger risk of drowning” sign, and it turns out there was a danger of “drowing”, whatever that is! Despite the windy weather and “attractive” safety gear, we found it really interesting and our tour guides were amazing.

Afterwards we drove to Cog Moors. First our guide showed us what was in wastewater, with a very hands-on approach! Two of our Year 7s volunteered to demonstrate, and before realising what they had gotten themselves into, ended up pouring shampoo, shower gel, nappies, tissues, conditioner and even actual pee and poo into the water to make a lovely waste water sludge!

Then we were shown around the centre, seeing the solid waste being pushed out of machines in long lines, the brown sludge being removed from the top of the water and the water being filtered out. It made us realise how disgusting our water would be without places like Cog Moors, how quickly disease could spread, and also how bad it would smell! Again, our guide was great and it was a very interesting visit.


A big thank you to the people at Aberthaw and Cog Moors, and Mrs Ellis and Miss White for giving us the opportunity to go on this trip. We definitely learnt a lot!

Pippa and Emily

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