Every year has four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. And houses, machines, equipment and the like should be designed to withstand/operate in all conditions.
This doesn’t seem to be the case for PCC Bakki Silicon, who run the silicon metal smelter at Bakki in the north of Iceland. Last winter – during their first year of operation – they said that the wintry weather was causing them problems, and now it’s happening again.
Earlier this week, Iceland suffered severe storms, the severity varying depending on location. Electricity was cut off in many parts of the north, including at the silicon smelter at Bakki. Initially the electricity supply was disrupted for about eight hours before being reconnected. However, other than news of the supply problem (which appears to have come from the electricity transmission company rather than PCC) there was no news of how the lack of electricity was affecting the smelter.
But it must have had an effect of some sort.
Then yesterday the electricity was disrupted again, allegedly because of “load” on the system. On their Facebook page, PCC said (in a translation from Icelandic):
Due to a breakdown in the Landsnet electricity substation, there is no power to the furnaces at the moment. The emergency chimneys are open, the furnaces are cooling down and thus people could become aware of odours. This breakdown is a result of the stormy weather that went over the country earlier in the week. Great emphasis is put on repairing the damage and we expect them to finish as soon as possible. We will look at the events of the last few days in more detail and report on them next week.
Is it not probable that the same thing happened on Tuesday, i.e. that the furnaces started to cool down and emit odours?
Note that the smelter also suffered problems in late November, when both furnaces were out of action for a while. Did odours occur then too? Quite probably.
This blog will be updated.