The units at Tilbury Power Station which were hit by this week’s fire will be out of action until the summer, operators RWE npower said today.

Thousands of tonnes of woodchip feedstock at the biomass station – at 750 MW the largest in the world – were engulfed by flames on Monday.

The cause of the fire at Tilbury, in Essex, England, is not yet known but the deputy chief fire officer at the scene speculated that it may have started on a conveyor belt carrying the woodchips from their storage bunkers into the plant.

A full internal investigation is now underway while the full extent of the damage to the plant is still being determined.

RWE npower said today that unit 8 at the plant, which was not affected by the fire, was expected to be operational again in a month’s time, while units 9 and 10 were not expected to be back online until the end of July.