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Power from biomass put through its paces

Decentrilised power production from biomass is a technically and commercially feasible concept, given careful selection of the site and the appropriate type of conversion technology. The economies of scale offered by large plant sizes, together with government subsidies, are the critical factors in attaining economic feasibility.

Energy

A past study under the JOULE II Programme concluded that biomass electricity generation projects were technically and commercially feasible, given support measures and that future research should concentrate on projects at the scale of 1 to 5 MWe. The main objective of the present research is to verify these conclusions in a real market environment, by developing implementation studies for four small biomass power stations in Scotland, England, Italy and Portugal. The implementation studies have revealed several factors that currently have an impact on the development of power-from-biomass projects. The attitude of local and regional authorities towards such projects is generally positive, providing officials are informed beforehand, in order to address public opinion. The remaining subjects of issue concern the choice of combustion technology and the fuel/biomass sourcing. Of the four projects included in the study, the Portuguese one is the most certain to be built, because it has Governmental support and financing, together with an extensive fuel supply from forestry residues. The Italian plant is also expected to be implemented in the medium term, subject to the provision of support and government financing.

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