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Co-firing of biomass, coal waste and coal in mining sites for electricity generation



Co-firing biomass with coal in an existing coal plant is a way to use biomass with a substantial efficiency and replace coal at limited cost. Biomass could be a major alternative for locally mined coal given the expected large potential, together with the environmental benefits of cleaner biomass, and employment in coal mining areas, including advantages mainly like: i) no new generating capacity is needed, ii) reduction of CO2 and SO2 emissions, iii) utilization of local resources such forest residues, iv) generation of local employment.

Within this framework, the objective of the project is to carry out a study to determine the possibilities of co-firing of biomass (mostly forestry and sawdust residues) with coal and coal waste from mining sites in Narcea I, 65 Mwe coal fulled plant sited in Tineo (Asturias - Spain). The main relevance of the project is to increase sharing of renewable in the energy system, to reduce fossil fuel use and to reduce environmental impact while at the same time using local resources with major benefits for the local economy.

Within the development of the project, some tests at different scales will be carried out. At labscale, an entrained-flow reactor will be used in order to get an extensive characterization of coal, biomass and coal-waste combustion. This facility has been designed to some of the relevant parameters in a power-plant boiler (temperature up to 1 500 C, residence time up to 3 seconds), in order to simulate the particle combustion histories. On the other hand, a close control of the test variables can be achieved (co-flow gas composition, temperature profile, residence time), allowing a systematic investigation of the combustion behavior of solid fuels. At semi-industrial scale, combustion tests (thermal input about 300 kW) in a furnace specially adapted to co-fire coal and biomass/mining waste will be carried out. The flexibility of this test rig allows the implementation of a wide variety of combustion methods. Finally a minimum of one trial will be carried out at Narcea I, a pulverized coal power plant of 65 MWe.


As result of the project, the possibilities from a technoeconomic point of view of co-firing biomass with coal and mining-waste in an existing pulverised coal power plant will be established. Within the expected exploitation, it will be studied the possibility of implementing this criteria of co-firing (including the modeling) in existing coal power plants with this technology around European countries (there are 5 power plants in Europe where the result of this project might be extrapolable due to have the same pulverised coal system).

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Union Fenosa Ingenieria S.A.
81 3A,c / Piquer 7
28033 Madrid

Participants (4)

S/n,avenida Julian Claveria S/n
33071 Oviedo
14,Padualaan 14
3584 CH Utrecht
Union Eléctrica Fenosa SA
C.t. Del Narcea
33876 Soto De La Barca - Tineo
Universidad de Zaragoza
3,María De Luna 3
50015 Zaragoza