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Energy from biomass: an assessment of two promising systems for energy production

Objective

ENERGY FROM BIOMASS: An assessment of two promising systems for energy production.

In the Netherlands an initiative has been taken by the Province of North Holland, the Netherlands Electricity Production and Distribution Sector and ECN, to build a plant to convert biomass into electricity and heat. A gasification process in combination with a gas turbine (rated power between 15 and 30 MWe), has been selected to achieve the goal. In a pre-study the feasibility of this biomass gasification plant is currently being investigated. In Ireland, for to environmental reasons, present peat fired facilities gradually have to be replaced by facilities using other fuels or renewable fuels. There is strong pressure to preserve several bogland areas for biomass energy crops. Assessing the concept of biomass crop combustion for electricity generation is of importance to the Irish situation.
This project support will be provided for the design and operation of biomass energy conversion units, based on the starting points of both the Dutch and Irish initiatives. Through energy conversion optimization perspectives will be indicated to improve future system performances. The economics of both gasification and combustion technology using biomass waste or crops is an important issue.

The project will result in a detailed analysis of available biomass waste streams in Holland and Ireland, including the relevant properties based on chemical and physical characterization. For the Irish situation crop growing concepts, yields and available land, costs aspects, etc. will be provided, with a view to achieving a good balance between yield, efficiency and ecological constraints.
The potential efficiency and energy generation cost of the proposed energy conversion systems for gasification and combustion, including relevant biomass pretreatment, will be compared.

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The use of biomass is currently attracting a great deal of interest in Europe. At present various activities are undertaken to realize initiatives to convert biomass to electricity and heat. Facilities for the combustion of straw and wood to generate electricity already exist. Pilot plants for wood gasification to generate heat operate or are under construction.
Motives to initiate biomass energy conversion project on the short term are: - the need to replace the use of fossil fuels by renewable alternatives; - the urgent need to find alternative, environmentally friendly, cheap disposal routes for biomass wastes (waste paper, sewage sludge, biomass refuse from food and agriculture industries, demolition wood, etc.); - the need to find new applications for existing agricultural land, for instance energy farming (poplar, willow, miscanthus).

The project inventories will be made of available biomass both from waste streams or energy farming. The application of these biomass streams in currently developed initiatives for electricity production by either biomass combustion, including steam cycle, or biomass gasification, using a gas turbine, will be assessed. On the basis of the available fuels and gained information on costs, environmental aspects, necessary technical development and energy conversion systems support will be provided for the existing initiatives. Optimizations will be worked out to provide perspectives for future improvements of performance and economics.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

ENERGY RESEARCH CENTRE OF THE NETHERLANDS
Address
Westerduinweg 3
Petten
Netherlands

Participants (5)

Duquesne Ltd.
Ireland
Address
4,Merrion Square
2 Dublin
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BOARD
Ireland
Address
27,Lower Fitzwilliam Street 27
2 Dublin
TEAGASC - AGRICULTURE AND FOOD DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Ireland
Address
Malahide Road
17 Dublin
TPS TERMISKA PROCESSER AB
Sweden
Address
Studsvik
611 82 Nyköping
UTRECHT UNIVERSITY
Netherlands
Address
14,Padualaan 14
3584 CH Utrecht