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Instalación de procesamiento, almacenamiento de biomasa y planta de generación de energía eléctrica a partir de biomasa de 50 MW en Huelva (España). Foto cortesía de ENCE | Processing facilities, biomass storage and 50 MW biomass power plant in Huelva (Spain). Photo courtesy of ENCE

According to a new report from ecoprog, in early 2017, there were 3,510 operational biomass power plants worldwide, generating electricity and heat from solid biomass and with a total installed capacity of 52.8 GW. By the end of 2017, ecoprog estimates that there will be around 3,700 active power plants, with a capacity of some 56.2 GW. In just one year, 200 biomass power plants with a capacity of almost 3 GW were commissioned. While Europe showed a slight decrease in newly commissioned biomass power plants over the past year, Asia’s commissioning rate remains at a high level. In North America, low electricity prices have resulted in commissioning insecurities, with the commissioning rate slowing in 2016/2017. The attractive incentive scheme in Japan resulted in a growing commissioning rate in the Australia and Pacific region. At the same time, consolidation and globalisation continued among the technology providers in 2017.

The market for biomass power plants, the number of plants and their respective capacities, is a result of the subsidisation schemes and the availability of positive economic conditions at favourable locations, e.g. in the sugar or the paper industry. Regions with high political subsidies in the form of feed-in tariffs have comparatively young plant assets that are characterised by small-scale plants. This is the case in most European countries. Today, many systems primarily subsidise small-scale plants due to ecological sustainability. Europe’s plants are therefore on average smaller than in other regions such as North America. By contrast, fuel availability is the determining factor in North and South America as well as in many Asian markets, as subsidisation levels are often lower than in Europe.

North America and Europe mainly use wood to generate energy, while South American countries primarily incinerate bagasse, a waste product of the sugarcane industry. Agricultural residues such as straw, rice husks and empty fruit bunches from the palm oil industry represent the main fuels in Asia. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

The hotel sector is one of the most intensive as regards energy consumption. The vast majority of hotels were constructed during an era in which energy did not represent a significant cost and as a result their design did not place much importance on efficiency and sustainability criteria. The increase in the cost of energy (both electricity and fossil fuels such as gas and diesel) has resulted in the gradual introduction of solutions to improve the energy efficiency of hotel installations. One such solution currently available is hybrid solar panel technology that simultaneously generates heat and electricity and whose features perfectly adapt to the needs of hotel installations.

There are three steps to achieving reduced operating costs. The first step consists of reducing the energy demand of the building; the second comprises the self-generation of energy by integrating renewable energy sources; and the third step is to ensure that the energy demanded (which is not covered by renewables), is supplied by the most efficient installations possible. These three steps must be applied in the above order, given that the lower the demand, the fewer the number of installations to be undertaken.

This article describes the case of a 4-star, 400-room hotel in the Balearics that has integrated this innovative solar technology: hybrid solar panels. This technology simultaneously generates electricity and hot water from a single panel, producing more energy from the same available space. Greater energy savings translate into an increased economic saving, which is the key to the cost-effective solution offered by this technology, as this case study shows. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

Fluctuations in the prices of fossil fuels, the need to address climate change and the growing energy demand, present the current energy model with major challenges. To address them at the same time as achieving high levels of efficiency, new hybrid energy models based on renewable energy are emerging that aim to make a better use of resources and facilitate an energy supply over a longer period. This is the case of CSP-biomass plants designed to produce power using ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) technology. Innergy is active throughout the entire value chain of an energy project with biomass, providing services that range from the development, production and sale of heat and automation generation equipment to O&M. The company enjoys extensive experience in all types of biomass, industrial biomass boilers and both ORC and steam technology, qualifying it to support biomass for this type of energy solutions.

This type of hybrid energy solution is so interesting because CSP plants need sunlight to shine directly onto their mirrors in order to produce electricity. On cloudy days these plants remain stopped, not generating power and requiring energy from other sources. On the other hand, there is energy generation equipment that uses biomass, a sustainable fuel source that is not subject to weather phenomena, but which, despite existing in large quantities, must be used in a controlled and sustainable manner.

By combining both types, solar power is used on clear days, with the cloudy days covered by energy originating from biomass. This ensures that the plant can operate 365 days a year as it is energy independent from monopolies and large corporations, as well achieving price stability. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

The vision to set new standards for cost-competitive renewable heat and power production has became a reality with the official opening of a revolutionary green energy facility in Denmark. Inaugurated by the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Mr. Lars Christian Lilleholt, the 45 million € investment is now ready to produce both sustainable power and heat with the help of an advanced solar energy system from Danish renewable energy specialist, Aalborg CSP A/S.

Replacing natural gas with renewable energy sources is a natural step in Denmark’s green energy transition where most district heating plants typically switch to solar or biomass. However, combining several energy technologies to produce both heat and power is certainly a proof of innovative thinking which recently led to the realization of an ambitious green energy project in the town of Brønderslev.

The system is the first combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Denmark, but also in the whole world to integrate concentrated solar power (CSP) and a biomass boiler while also using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to turn the energy into district heating and electricity. Utilizing benefits of these innovative technologies enables the Brønderslev Forsyning district heating plant to achieve record energy efficiency, lower energy prices and a future-proof solution that is no longer dependent on fluctuating fossil fuel prices. Clean energy also means the reduction of more than 25,000 CO2 annually.

CSP, a flexible energy technology

Part of the new, sustainable CHP facility is an advanced, 26,929 m2 solar energy plant from Aalborg CSP. This solar-thermal system is based on the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that has already been producing heat since the end of 2016. With the ORC and biomass units also going online, it is now ready to contribute to electricity production as well.

The CSP technology consists of 40 rows x 125m U-shaped mirrors that collect the sunrays throughout the day and reflect them onto a receiver pipe. This receiver pipe is surrounded by a special glass vacuum tube and inside this runs – only heated by the sun – thermal oil with temperatures up to 330 °C. This high temperature is able to drive an electric turbine to produce electricity, but the flexibility of the system also allows production of lower temperatures for district heating purposes. The solar heating system can thus alternate between providing combined heat and power at peak price periods, or exclusively deliver heat. On sunny days, the solar-thermal system in Brønderslev is set to reach 16.6 MWth capacity.

The CSP technology is capable of supporting the production of pretty much any energy outputs, be it heat, electricity, cooling, process steam or even desalinated water.

The achievement of the world’s first CSP system combined with a biomass-ORC plant was supported by the Danish Government’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).

Source: Aalborg CSP A/S

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Worldwide, there are over 3,500 operational biomass power plants. They generate electricity and heat from solid biomass, reaching an installed capacity of 52.8 GWel. Within a year, 200 biomass power plants with a capacity of almost 3 GWel were commissioned. Significant growth rates in Asia are compensating the less dynamic development in the European key markets. At the same time, consolidation and globalisation continued among the technology providers in 2017. These are two of the results of a current ecoprog market report, called Biomass to Power.

The market for biomass power plants is mainly stimulated by renewable energy subsidies, especially in Europe, where first support schemes for electricity generation from solid biomass were introduced in the 1990s already.

By contrast, fuel availability is the determining factor in North and South American as well as many Asian markets, as subsidisation levels are oftentimes lower than in Europe. North America and Europe mainly use wood to generate energy, while South American countries primarily incinerate bagasse, a residue of the sugarcane industry. Agricultural residues such as straw, rice husks and empty fruit bunches from the palm oil industry are the main fuels in Asia.

What all the plants have in common is their intense waste heat utilisation (combined heat and power, CHP). About 60% of the biomass power plants are located at industrial sites. Many of them are fuelled with local production residues (palm oil fruit bunches, bagasse, wood-processing residues) and in turn deliver heat to the production process. Around 30% of all facilities are connected to district heating grids; most of those are located in colder regions such as Central Europe and Scandinavia. About 10% of the biomass power plants generate power only and do not use their waste heat at all. Many of them are located in China, where waste heat utilisation is not a requirement for obtaining subsidies.

The market development depends on how profitable RE subsidies are, especially in Europe. Many markets are saturated after many years of subsidisation, which would make the construction of new capacities only worthwhile with granting further generous subsidies. Additionally, Europe has fewer agricultural residues that can be used for thermal recovery than other regions.

As the already existing plants run at high operating costs, many European countries are lowering RE subsidies. For instance, the UK decided to no longer organise allocation rounds for renewable energies after 2019. In September 2017, Poland postponed its much-anticipated biomass auction indefinitely. This auction was initially planned for October 2017. Romania does also not seem to consider reintroducing RE subsidies.

Other European countries, however, are strengthening RE support. The Netherlands decided an 8 billion EUR support scheme for 2018, which is as much as in 2017. Finland is to establish a new auctioning system in 2018/2019, which will also include biomass power plants.

Globally, subsidisation systems did not change significantly in the past year. Argentina has to be mentioned as a special case, however: In 2017, the country approved subsidies for 14 biomass power plants with a capacity of 117 MWel and also announced the next auction for 2018.

The worldwide market for BMPPs will continue to develop dynamically until 2026. Throughout the world, another 2,000 biomass power plants with an installed capacity of over 25 GWel will be constructed. About 50% of this increase will happen in Asia and especially in the Chinese and Indian key markets. North and South America are to remain attractive markets for solid biomass electricity generation as well, mainly Brazil, Canada and the USA. The overall subsidisation level in Europe, however, will continue to decrease in the light of high costs and ecological aspects (sustainability). Europe will therefore become a less dynamic market.

As a result of the trends described above, consolidation and globalisation among the technology providers continued in 2017. For instance, UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler Group (today Wood Group) sold its fluidised bed combustion business to Japanese technology provider Sumitomo. Danish technology provider Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, part of Japanese Mitsui Group, took over financially troubled plant manufacturer Burmeister & Wain Energy. Danish technology provider Babcock & Wilcox Vølund was imposed a cost-cutting programme by US parent company Babcock & Wilcox, including the dismissal of 30% of staff.

Source: ecoprog

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Rolls-Royce has signed a contract with Tuinbouwbedrijf Marc Pittoors (T.B.M.P) BVBA, for the supply of a 7 MWe combined heat and power plant (CHP). The plant will be powered by two gas-fired gensets based on the new medium-speed Bergen B36:45L6 engine and will provide heat and power to a new tomato greenhouse in Belgium. The contract also includes a service agreement for 10 years. The gensets are scheduled to go into operation early November 2018.

Marc Pittoors will use the generated electricity to power the greenhouse artificial lighting and the heat extracted from exhaust gases and engine cooling systems to heat up the facility. In addition, cleaned engine exhaust gases will be injected into the greenhouse to increase the level of CO2 and boost plant growth.

For the tomato producing company, three factors were crucial in taking this decision: electrical efficiency (best in the current market), expertise (Rolls-Royce developed a gas engine in the early 90s and was the pioneer in lean-burn technology) and optimum heat balance (5 hectares of greenhouse space are illuminated and 3.5 hectares are not).

Rolls-Royce will be supplying the complete CHP plant for this greenhouse, consisting of the power generator sets, the exhaust gas systems including a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and heat exchangers, and the electronic control system. In total, the technology achieves efficiency rates of more than 96%. Rolls-Royce has many years of experience with CHP plants and has since 2005 delivered 52 CHP plants with a total installed capacity of 270 MWe for greenhouses in Holland, Belgium, Russia and the UK.

Source: Rolls-Royce

The basic supply of electricity and gas to the economy is one of the pillars of the Energy Industry Act. However, even more elementary is the safe and reliable energy supply in the medical sector. Both electricity and heat can save lives here.

In order to ensure this security of supply in the future, the University Medical Foundation (UMG) and the University of Göttingen have initiated an innovative energy supply concept. A modern, decentralised energy and heat supply system is intended to bring production close to consumers in the future. Three large combined heat and power plants are to be built for this purpose: one at the university hospital and two at the university.

By the end of 2017, the first of the three power plants will supply around half of the electricity required and the base load of the heat required by the university hospital. The 4.5 megawatt power plant is supplied by ETW Energietechnik, the Moers-based specialist for energy plants, and has an outstanding overall efficiency of almost 90 percent (electricity + heat output).

The 4.7 million euro project is financed by the state of Lower Saxony. The investment not only saves energy costs. The security of supply and the saving of 6,500 tons of CO2 per year also contribute to climate protection.

SOURCE: ETW

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Since the beginning of the year, two Rolls-Royce CHP plants have been supplying energy to a new tomato greenhouse operated by Maxburg BVBA in Meer in Belgium. The two gas-powered gensets have reliably supplied over 20 MWh of heat and power to date. Maxburg is now the 30th greenhouse for which Rolls-Royce has delivered CHP plants. Since 2005, no less than 52 CHP plants manufactured by Rolls-Royce have generated a total electrical output of 270 MW in greenhouses in Holland, Belgium, Russia and the UK.

The gensets are based on the medium-speed B35:40 V12 AG2 engines from Rolls-Royce, each of which is able to generate an electrical output of 5,650 kW and a thermal output of 6,545 kW. They achieve an efficiency level of more than 96 per cent. The electric power is used primarily for the greenhouse lamps and, if required, is fed into the public grid.

 

The greenhouse, which extends over an area of 10.2 hectares, is heated using the heat extracted from the exhaust gas and the engine’s cooling system. The cleaned exhaust gases from the engines are also injected into the greenhouses to increase the level of CO2 and boost plant growth. The owner expects to achieve an annual production of 7.5 million kilogrammes of tomatoes at the Maxburg greenhouse.

Rolls-Royce has delivered the complete CHP plants, consisting of the power generator sets, the exhaust gas systems, including the SCR systems and the heat exchangers. The electronic control systems are also included in the scope of supply. Operator John Vermeiren and Rolls-Royce have concluded a long-term service agreement for the combined heat and power plants covering approximately 4,500 hours of operation per year over the next 10 years.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the SunShot Initiative in 2011 with the goal of making solar electricity cost-competitive with power from conventional generation technologies by 2020. The initiative includes cost and performance targets for solar PV and CSP. Unlike PV, CSP technology captures and stores the sun’s energy in the form of heat, using materials that are low cost and materially stable for decades. This allows CSP with thermal energy storage (TES) to deliver renewable energy while providing important capacity, reliability and stability attributes to the grid, thereby enabling increased penetration of variable renewable electricity technologies. The technical report “Concentrating Solar Power Gen3 Demonstration Roadmap” released in January 2017 by NREL, will be used by the DOE to prioritise R&D activities leading to one or more technology pathways to be successfully demonstrated at a scale appropriate for the future commercialisation of the technology.

Today’s most advanced CSP systems are towers integrated with 2-tank, molten-salt TES, delivering thermal energy at 565°C for integration with conventional steam-Rankine power cycles. These power towers trace their lineage to the 10 MWe pilot demonstration of Solar Two in the 1990s. This design
has lowered the cost of CSP electricity by approximately 50% compared to parabolic trough systems; however, the decrease in cost of CSP technologies has not kept pace with the falling cost of PV systems.

 

Since the 2011 introduction of SunShot, the DOE’s CSP Subprogram has funded research in solar collector field, receiver, TES and power cycle sub-systems to improve the performance and lower the cost of CSP systems. In August 2016, the DOE hosted a workshop of CSP stakeholders that defined three potential pathways for next generation CSP (CSP Gen3) based on the form of the thermal carrier in the receiver: molten salt, particle or gaseous. Prior analysis by the DOE had selected the supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton cycle as the best-fit power cycle for increasing CSP system thermo-electric conversion efficiency. The research is designed to enable a CSP system that offers the potential to achieve the overall CSP SunShot goals. However, no one approach exists without at least one significant technical, economic or reliability risk (Figure 1). Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2017

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The market for combined heat and power (CHP), which produces electricity and usable heat in a single, highly-efficient process, is set to increase its installed capacity from 755.2 GW in 2016 to 971.9 GW by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 2.8%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that the increasing global demand for electrical power and the simultaneous rise in environmental concerns are major drivers of the CHP market, along with increasing government incentives and policies to promote it.

 

Anchal Agarwal, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, notes: “CHP plants are attractive because they recover heat that is normally wasted in conventional power generation methods, which together have an efficiency of around 45%. CHP systems, however, can be up to 90% efficient, and are used in industrial, institutional, and large commercial applications.”

GlobalData’s report also states that Asia-Pacific (APAC) had the largest regional share in 2015, with 45.9% of global CHP installed capacity, attributable to countries such as China, India, and Japan. The share is expected to reach 48.5% of global installed capacity by 2025.

Agarwal explains: “One of the reasons for APAC’s dominance is that China and India are the top carbon emitters and largest polluter countries. Growing manufacturing, increasing electricity demand, and rising numbers of vehicles are the key contributors to pollution, and have forced governments to install CHP plants.

“The International Energy Agency established CHP installed capacity targets of 333 GW in China and 85 GW in India by 2030. These targets are expected to lead to the introduction of policy incentives, which will drive the growth of CHP installations.”

Source: GlobalData

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