Biomass Power Generation and Dark Grains Plant

Blyth & Blyth were appointed Civil & Structural Designer to Robertson Construction Ltd for the Civil and Structural Package for the new 7.9MWe Biomass Plant for Helius CoRDe at Rothes.

Location: Rothes
Client: Helius CoRDe
Cost: £50m
Completion: 2014

The project takes draft from whisky production, dries and mixes the draft with wood chip and burns this to raise steam, which is used for power generation and the evaporation of pot ale. The whole project was undertaken as an EPC contract by a Danish company specialising in biomass boilers and power generation.

Blyth & Blyth were engaged as a Consultant to Helius for feasibility advice and budget costing from 2007 through to final handover in 2014, having been appointed as Designer to the Main Civils Contractor in 2012. The services we provided included site master planning, assistance with submission of Planning and Building Warrant Applications, and detailed design of all civil, structural and builders work.

The Client and design team benefited from our extensive in-house expertise gained from the design, tender and contract management of a large number of boiler houses, CHP and biomass plants over the last 20 years for major industrial companies throughout the UK.

Despite good ground conditions, the high load intensity from the plant and equipment dictated that piled foundations were necessary. A raised platform was initially constructed to raise the plant above the potential flood level for the nearby River Spey, and the installation required a completely new SUDS drainage system and road network, including weighbridges, tanker offloading and filling points, tank farms and pipe bridges

Key challenges

Coordination of the building superstructure and foundation design was challenging due to different design Codes used by overseas designers. This made the exercise of compliance with Scottish Building Regulations, and in particular the SER Certification, a challenge for the design team.


All phases of the project were completed within strict programming and sequencing deadlines to suit the delivery and installation of heavy plant and machinery, testing and commissioning. The existing plant remained in production throughout the project.