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Even though subsidies are declining in Europe, it will remain the world’s most important market for biomass power plants, with 75 billion € to be invested within the next 10 years. The market in Asia is flagging at a high level and still shows the worldwide largest capacity increases. These are the results of ecoprog’s latest market analysis, “Biomass to Power”.

Today, there are almost 2,900 active biomass power plants (BMPPs) worldwide, with an electrical capacity of around 47 GWe. Additionally, biomass is co-incinerated in coal power plants. This is so far mainly happening in European countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. However, Japan and South Korea are also steadily increasing the combustion of pellets in coal-fired power stations.

By 2024, the number of BMPPs will increase to 4,250, the overall capacity to 71 GWe. This means that the plants’ total capacities will almost double. The countries with the strongest developments will be the USA, Brazil, China, India, the UK and France.

The most important market stimulus is the granting of subsidies for electricity generation from renewable energy sources, and by now more than 140 countries have introduced such support schemes. The most attractive schemes for electricity generation from solid biomass are established in Europe. In the past years, more and more Asian countries have also introduced such biomass subsidies.

The support schemes in Europe have been established for a long time and are thus very versatile. At present, however, subsidies are declining in many countries, due to high costs and for ecological reasons. The Czech Republic has even stopped subsidisation completely. Germany, which had been a large growth market, reduced and capped financial incentives to an extent that the construction of additional plants has almost come to a standstill.

France and the UK have by contrast newer and quite attractive legislation, which makes them the most dynamic markets in Europe. Planning reliability will also return to Poland in early 2016, when, after many years of delay, a new support scheme based on auctions will be introduced.

The Asian biomass market is not developing as dynamically as expected. Large markets such as China and India show first signs of saturation, e.g. high fuel prices and project withdrawals. Additionally, smaller Asian states such as the Philippines only grant low and limited subsidies. Many market players furthermore state problems with logistics and funding shortfalls as main reasons for the sometimes sluggish development of capacities.

Still, from 2017 onwards, Asia will see a stronger increase of capacities than Europe. This is due to the fact that mostly large-scale projects are realised in Asia, with capacities between 10 and 30 MWe. In Europe, by contrast, small-scale plants of up to 5 MWe benefit the most from the local support schemes, which is why most newly constructed facilities will have such a capacity range.

Furthermore, using the plants’ waste heat is obligatory in many European countries. The plants there are thus equipped with efficient heat use technology and located at industrial sites or district heating grids.

The small plant size, the common design as CHP facilities and high environmental standards in Europe result in average investment costs of 5.6 million € per MWe, which is significantly more than in Asia. The investment costs in Asia, and especially in China, are lower due to standardised plants that generate electricity only.

In monetary terms, Europe will thus remain the most important BMPP market in the next 10 years – even though the development of capacities will decrease considerably when compared to the past 5 years.

Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), leader in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerators, for distributed power generation employing renewable sources and waste heat, was selected to supply a 6.5 MW power only unit for the largest ORC biomass power plant in Sheffield, UK.

Kantor Energy Ltd., a specialist district heating design & building engineering, the EPC principal contractor of the project, selected Turboden Srl to supply the clean electricity generation equipment, the 6.5 MW ORC turbogenerator with air condensers.

The project will be built on a brownfield site in Holbrook Industrial Estate, Turboden’s ORC unit will generate more than 6.5 MW of electricity, utilizing around 55,000 tonnes of waste timber wood from demolition sites as carbon neutral fuel.turboden-baja

The Turboden ORC system is expected to cut greenhouse emissions by approximately 12,700 tonnes of CO2e per year, the equivalent of taking 5,700 cars off the road for the life of the project.

The Sheffield facility will also supply renewable heat to the local district heating network, which will warm over 6,700 houses and commercial properties in the area.

Once in operation, the plant will sell electricity to GDF Suez UK under a long-term power off take agreement.

Veolia Energy Services Ltd has been awarded the long-term operation and maintenance contract on behalf of Equitix, whose services involve delivery and managing infrastructure projects from bidding and closing through to construction and service provision.

The achievement of the project has been possible thanks the investment of £30 million from the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Equitix. The investment was made to utilize innovative technologies, create new sources of green energy, cut carbon emissions, and create important local benefits for the communities.Turboden_MHI-logo-baja

The project was promoted by UYE (UK) Ltd, a local private energy development company who owns and operate low carbon, sustainable energy generation and heat networks.

In the past couple of years, Turboden has provided the largest biomass plants ever developed in the world. In addition to the ORC system for Sheffield, Four 6.5 MW ORC units have been supplied to West Fraser, a leading integrated wood products company in the Canadian province of British Columbia, have been operating since the beginning of 2015. Also, the world’s largest biomass-fed ORC unit an 8 MW ORC module has been supplied to Maine Woods Pellet Company in Athens, Maine.

Veolia, in partnership with the leading provider of environmental services, Takeei, has won 20-year operating contracts for two biomass power plants in the Tohoku region in northern Japan.

Fueled by local forestry industries, the two plants will generate 100 GWh of electricity per year for the cities of Hirakawa and Hanamaki – equivalent to the consumption of 22,000 homes. Veolia and Takeei will therefore help to increase the production of renewable energy on the island of Honshu[1], and prevent the emission of 40,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

“Veolia’s expertise and our ability to adapt to Japanese customs has enabled us to win these contracts,” explains Régis Calmels, Senior Executive Vice President Asia for Veolia. “Japan wants to triple the proportion of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030 consequently opening up excellent prospects for the Group.”

Present in Japan since 2002, Veolia manages water and sanitation in several major cities. In Osaka and Tokyo the Group serves 4 million users; in Hakone, a famous spa town, it manages the complete range of public water services.

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Turboden has signed an order with Starwood Orman Ürünleri Sanayi A.Ş for a new 5.5 MW CHP plant for its biomass plant to be installed in Bursa, Turkey. The Turboden ORC system will produce 5.5 MW electric and 29.5 MW thermal. The project is included in a bigger plant that calls for the expansion of Starwood MDF production facility in Bursa.

A 50 MWth biomass boiler fed by bark and chipboard production residues will supply heat for the rotary dryer and for the ORC, that will also produce hot water at 90 °C for dryer purposes. The integration of the ORC in an MDF production plant is an attractive application thanks to the possibility to produce a part of the own consumption of electricity of the plant and to implement cogeneration systems without significant changes to the typical MDF process scheme. This solution has also the advantage of extremely low operation and maintenance costs and limited additional costs compared to the heat only solution, leading to an optimal pay back of the additional investment.

The ORC turbine, constructed by the new Turboden Turkish daughter company, Turboden Turkey ORC Turbo Jeneratör Sanayi Anonim Şirketi, recently established in Ankara, will grant Starwood the access to the local content related additional incentives offered by the Turkish Government for renewable energy generation. A Turboden local service team, already active in the Turkish territory, will provide on-site works and after-sales services.

The Starwood project is the third biomass plant in Turkey for Turboden, after the 1 MW ORC unit supplied to Kastamonu Entegre in Gebze and the 200 kW ORC unit installed in Bursa for Marmarabirlik, a further important step of Turboden advance in the Turkish market, not only for geothermal application but also for biomass exploitation.

Since 2011 Turboden has successfully delivered also two 5.3 MW waste-to-energy ORC units to ITC-KA Enerji Üretim Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. in Mamak and a 3 MW geothermal unit to AFJET A.Ş. in Afyonkarahisar.

Recently other two large-sizes CHP plants have been awarded. A Turboden 5.5 MW CHP plant will be installed in a sawmill and pellet factory in Russia with the Spanish general contractor Prodesa Medioambiente. In this project, barks and waste branches will feed a thermal oil boiler, coupled with the ORC unit. The heat generated by the ORC system will feed, on the one hand, the drying chambers of the existing sawmill, that will be enlarged, and on the other, a pellet production line of 80,000 t/y.

A further CHP module will be installed in the Philippines, the first biomass large ORC plant in South-East Asia. The unit will recover thermal power from the combustion of corn cob and rice husk to produce up to 5.8 MW electric. The thermal power discharged by the ORC will be efficiently used to dry cereals. In both projects, the customers will also rely on the capability of the Turboden ORC to work on island mode, i.e. to ensure electricity generation to feed the production process consumptions during power failures of the main grid.

The Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo, COFIDES, SA has come into an agreement with Argo Capital Partners to participate in a fund destined for the development of renewable energy projects in Chile with the participation of Spanish companies. The financial support provided by COFIDES will be $10m structured through the Fund for Foreign Investments (FIEX). Argo Capital Partners will manage the capital venture fund which is aimed at financing, through equity investments, companies that operate power generation plants using non-conventional renewable sources, with particular focus on biomass technologies, biogas and mini-hydro. The duration of this fund will be for a total of 10 years and will be targeting projects that help promote energy auto consumption, lowering the companies’ bill and contributing to regional development. The objective is to make the total endowment of the Fund of $8m.

Through this fund, COFIDES and Argo Capital Partners will work together on an internationalisation project for the first time. The fund manager is committed to renewable energy plants and invests in clean self-sufficiency energy for companies in Chile, Colombia and Mexico and has extensive experience in the capital venture industry and renewable energy.

This fund will finance the participation of prominent Spanish companies in these technologies, in the construction of renewable projects in Chile. A strong drag effect of engineering companies and service providers is also expected.

COFIDES Chairman CEO, Salvador Marín stressed the importance of creating this investment fund in renewable energy, saying, “Spanish companies are pioneers in this sector and with this fund they will have great opportunities for international expansion and growth in Chile“.

Fernando Arias, Managing Partner at Argo Capital Partners stated that “COFIDES support represents an important milestone for the fund, for the prestige that the support of an institution such as COFIDES brings. Through this fund, Argo will lead the technology transfer in renewable energy to Latin America“.

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Abengoa and Toshiba Corporation, have been selected as preferred bidders to build the Tees Renewable Energy Plant. The project is owned by MGT Teesside, a subsidiary of MGT Power, a British company committed to developing utility scale biomass CHP projects. This will be the world’s newly built largest power and steam from biomass plant, and will be located in the Port of Teesside, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom. It will have a capacity of 299 MW of electricity and steam, both for self-sufficiency and to be exported to nearby industry and users. The engineering and construction contract will exceed 600 M€.

Abengoa will be responsible for carrying out the engineering, design and construction of the plant for the client MGT Teesside. This project will use wood pellets and chips from certified sustainable forestry resources from the United States and Europe as fuel, and will be audited to ensure compliance with the strict criteria established by the UK’s incentives for renewable energy.

The project will supply renewable energy for the equivalent of at least 600,000 households in the UK. During the construction phase, up to 1,100 jobs are expected to be created.

With this plant, Abengoa will contribute to reduce the UK.’s carbon footprint and promote the country’s energy transition to renewable and efficient energy sources. In addition, this base-load generation reliable thermal plant will help to ensure the supply of electricity to U.K. consumers, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Abengoa has now been awarded the construction of two power and steam biomass plants in less than a year, the other being a 215 MW plant in Ghent, Belgium The Ghent project was previously the largest power and steam from biomass plant in the world to have awarded a construction contract. These two awards strengthen Abengoa’s capacity to develop complex projects, as well as its commitment to sustainable development.

It is highly significant how Spain’s energy model for generating and distributing heating and DHW to residential blocks over past decades, that represent the majority in Spain, has tended towards an individualised system of “one boiler for every home”. Its application has prevailed thanks to the convenience of the piped distribution of gaseous fossil fuels (despite its risks) and by a legislation that has been lax in controlling the squandering of energy and also, make no mistake, due to individualistic consumer behaviour as part of this necessary collective process. The clear winners of this model are neither energy efficiency nor the consumers.

The economic crisis that has exponentially increased the number of homes in “energy poverty”, the concern for be pollution in the cities and the commitment to the climate (that translates into less energy cost per capita to contaminate less and to reduce CO2 emissions), are elements that are making every group of citizens think again to modify the current energy model insofar as this is possible.

One possible way to resolve these issues is to promote district heating and cooling networks. This infrastructure is no more than a centralised heating and cooling system such as that of any association of property owners, but on a large scale, channelled through the streets to reach every home. Read more…

Juan Jesús Ramos
Technician, AVEBIOM Head of the ONCB, the Spanish National Observatory on Biomass Boilers

Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2015

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Veolia, through its subsidiary in Ireland Veolia Energy Services, has been awarded, by Mayo Renewable Power, the EUR 450 million-contract over 15 years to operate a biomass power plant in Killala, in Ireland. The plant, which will be the largest independent biomass power plant in Ireland, will provide 42.5MW of Combined Heat and Power, enough electricity to power the equivalent of 68,000 homes. In addition to operating and maintaining the power production plant and the adjacent fuel processing plant, Veolia will also supply the total biomass fuel requirement for the facility. The plant will use similar technology to that applied at Veolia’s biomass facilities at Merritt and Fort St. James in British Colombia, Canada.

Moreover, the operations and maintenance contract will directly create 30 new jobs at the facility in Killala. The plant will be in commercial operation in mid-2017. Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice President, Veolia UK and Ireland, said “This project marks a significant step on Ireland’s path towards developing sustainable energy solutions. We are looking forward to collaborating with our project partners to deliver best in class energy management for the successful delivery of this milestone project”.

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