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Disruptive Cyclone-based technology for effective and affordable particulate matter emission reduction in biomass combustion systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CYCLOMB (Disruptive Cyclone-based technology for effective and affordable particulate matter emission reduction in biomass combustion systems)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-05-31

The highly increasing biomass industrial sector is now facing important challenges as the EU will implement stricter particulate matter (PM) emission limits under 20 mg/m³ by 2030. PM is considered the pollutant with the highest risk for health damage and associated to acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumoconiosis, cataract and blindness and pulmonary tuberculosis. The sector needs to decrease to maximum PM emissions, yet some countries (Germany, Denmark and UK) have already implemented the previous legislation. However, there are only partial solutions available including Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs) and Fabric Filters, which offer 95-99% efficiency in PM emission reduction. Their main drawbacks include additional investment costs of as much as 100% with respect to the combustion system and a rise of operation and maintenance costs for heat production in 6-12%. Biomass is the principal renewable energy source used for heating, accounting for 66.1% of the renewable energy produced in the EU. It will move €3.77 billion by 2017, with 2.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate. We will focus on two sectors taking into account their growth expectative and easy market access to guarantee rapid market uptake. We will cover installations from 200kW-5MW including on the higher end district-heatings (>1MW) and on the lower end the primary (farming, greenhouses) and tertiary sector (hotels, office buildings) with smaller installations (<1MW).
A strong complementary team with more than 70 years' experience has come together to upgrade, scale-up and market launch an urgently needed affordable integrated solution for emission reduction for biomass combustion plants (CYCLOMB), which will generate 26.54M€ of cumulative profit and 97 new direct jobs by 2023. All EU countries will have to abide by new regulations (already implemented in Germany, Denmark and UK, other EU member states must follow until 2030) which fix particulate matter (PM) emission limits under 20 mg/m³. Today no cost-effective solutions exist that comply with the legislation. The CYCLOMB system achieves a 96-99% PM emission reduction, combining flue gas recycling and cyclone variable geometry. Recirculation of flue gases provides the biomass boiler with a high combustion efficiency (up to 95%) and reduces boiler emissions from 150 mg/m³ of typical automatic boilers to 80 mg/m³. By using a variable-geometry design of the attached PM abatement device a ≥96-99% particulate matter reduction is achieved. Final emission levels are always lower than 20 mg/m³ while investing only an additional 26% in PM abatement technology with respect to boiler price. It thus provides a comparative performance to the most advanced electrostatic precipitators and bag filters but at a 66% lower cost. The total annual operation and maintenance cost of biomass power plants is typically 5%-6.5% of the capital cost of small and medium capacity power plants. The implementation of CYCLOMB can reduce these maintenance costs at least 80%. The PM abatement cyclone-technology solution will be optimized for the CYCLOMB integrated solution medium-scale range (200kW-5MW) ideal for medium scale district heating plants and applications in the primary sector (farms, greenhouses) and the tertiary sector (office buildings, schools, hospitals and hotels).
This project is aiming to develop a cost effective solution to reduce the particle emission in the flue gasses from biomass combustion using cyclones and other necessary components as well as optimizing the combustion to get less particles in the flue gasses.
Several cyclone tests have been carried out improving the effectiveness of the reduction of particle emissions from the gas output of the boiler almost below the limit of 20 mg/m³, with an innovative geometry design that allows it to be installed in a wide range of biomass boilers. Further implementations of ideas to this solution indicates, that the effectiveness to reduce the particle emission below the limit of 20 mg/m³ is within reach.
During the same time, we have improved the KSM biomass boiler in order to increase combustion efficiency up to 92% besides the development of an intelligent control system that integrates the control of the boiler and the cyclonic solution into one.
From the start of this project we have been carrying out several dissemination actions as fairs and conferences, as well as, the online presentation of Cyclomb.
Our aim is, to develop a comprehensive solution to the biomass combustion sector of medium range combining two elements:
1) an innovative variable geometry cyclone with ≥96% PM2.5 reduction and
2) a highly efficient (95%) biomass boiler with integrated flue gas recirculation technology (20% PM emission reduction).
The final PM concentration in flue gases is achieved by the combination of both components will be far below the proposed EU limits (<20mg/m³, 99% total PM emission reduction). Furthermore, it does so at a 66% lower price to compared alternatives in the market.

Socio-economic impact.
Heat for homes, businesses and industrial processes account for 49% of the total energy demand and 47% of carbon emissions. District Heating as one of our main target markets within the upper medium-sized power range has the flexibility to accommodate heat from a variety of sources, including biomass. Therefore, it will play an essential role in reducing CO2 emissions and air pollution as well as in increasing energy efficiency in buildings. Solid biomass is the biggest source of renewable energy in the EU, accounting for 64.2% of primary renewables production in 2013. Biomass will also contribute to EU energy security, reducing the need for importing energy resources imports. By 2030, the EU is expected to import as much as 70% of all its energy supply. By switching to alternative energy sources, such as biomass, biomass heating systems will contribute considerably to EU fuel independence. An integrated system such as CYCLOMB with a competitive advantage in PM abatement system of 99% efficiency in waste biomass combustion with a 66% lower investment and over 80% lower Operations and Maintenance costs, puts Europe as technology leader at the forefront and will in the long-term guarantee a strong European biomass industry (up to 300.000 employment opportunities in the bioenergy sector). CYCLOMB targets to be firstly launched to the medium-sized biomass heating plant sectors from 200kW to 5 MW mainly district heating systems as well as primary industry and service sector to foster the change towards a sustainable energy production.