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The Spanish Bioenergy Association (Avebiom) and the Fundación Circe are participating in the European AgroBioHeat project, which seeks to extend the use of agro-biomass (straw, agricultural prunings, olive pits, almond shells, energy crops, etc.) heating in the European Union.

Avebiom and Circe are addressing the challenge with a view to changing the current model, in which agro-biomass is very underused despite being a resource of great potential. The AgroBioHeat project seeks to promote initiatives in which biomass installers, boiler manufacturers, agro-industries, associations, municipal councils and other institutions can become involved. For this purpose, Avebiom and Circe will identify, accompany and advise companies and entities in the undertaking of two specific projects in Spain.

Identifying initiatives

“Avebiom has the responsibility of identifying initiatives of interest in Spain and trying to ensure that they are successful in order to promote the use of agro-biomass”, points out the association’s project leader, Pablo Rodero. “We will accompany these initiatives until the end of the project and help them to overcome barriers and solve any technical issues or doubts that might emerge”, he added.

Daniel García, a researcher at the Fundación Circe, explains that AgroBioHeat has multiple lines of action. “It is necessary to promote the technologies capable of using agro-biomass with guarantees at trade fairs and other events. We have to put potential developers into contact with facilities that are already up and running and we have to convince the general public that this biomass is as eco-friendly and can be used as safely as forest biomass”, he points out.

Both Rodero and García highlight the fact that the project seeks to address an imminent threat that could limit the use of biomass. They point out that the current Eco-design Regulation, which comes into force in January 2020, imposes very stringent limits on emissions from wood pellet and wood chip boilers of less than 500 kW. And it is expected that a review of the Eco-design Regulation in 2021 will extend these emission limits to other types of biomass.

Avebiom and Circe will undertake a process to select the technologies and facilities to be used for testing and measurement purposes, as well as the new agro-biomass initiatives they wish to promote.

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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

In any type of installation, and especially those destined for the hotel sector, the reduction in the space utilised to install heating and DHW units is a variable that could be a significant factor, particularly in refurbished installations. Focusing on installations for the hotel sector, any space that can be reduced for the installation of the boiler room could be allocated to other uses that enable new business lines and sources of revenue (parking spaces, roof terraces, etc….). Traditionally, the DHW installation has been characterised by requiring a large space for positioning its associated units, in particular, the accumulation tanks.

It is well known that one of the main energy demands in a hotel-type installation is the need to cover the domestic hot water (DHW) service expected by the clients of such establishments. This service is moreover a priority, as its lack of availability could impair the image of the hotel as well as result in a possible loss of clients.

 

To avoid this, hotels have historically resorted to the design of installations with large tanks of storage water, in order to have a volume of water readily available that is able to cover consumption peaks as they occur. This design criteria is sufficient to guarantee the right level of comfort and customer service, but can raise questions today in terms of energy saving and the space necessary for its installation. Read more…

Gaspar Martín
ACV, Technical Director

Article published in: FuturENERGY June 2017

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At 11.6 metres long, 4.5 metres wide and almost 8 metres high, the dimensions of each of the four Bosch boilers for the new Ledvice power plant unit of the energy company CˇEZ are impressive. In total, the boilers produce up to 167 t/h of superheated steam for the start-up process of the new steam turbine that generates power. However, the Ledvice power plant does not just supply power: it also provides heating to some 300 companies and 20,000 residents. The huge boilers provide additional supply during peak load periods and serve as a backup for the district heating network.

The Ledvice power plant is situated in the Czech Republic in the foothills of the Erz Mountains between the cities of Teplice and Bilina. This new power plant unit, with its formidable electrical power output of 660 MW, is owned by the utility CˇEZ and has recently come online at this site.

In its role as general contractor, the company Skoda Praha Invest was responsible for implementing the new turnkey power plant unit and the steam boiler system. Stringent safety requirements and a tight time schedule demanded a high degree of flexibility and experience from all those involved in the project. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2017

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Zouxian 4×300 MW, 2×600 MW & 2×1,000 MW. Central eléctrica de combustible fósil en China. Foto cortesía de Dongfang Electric / Fossil fuel power plant, China. Photo courtesy of Dongfang Electric

The global market for boilers, turbines, and generators is set to decrease from a cumulative $318 billion during the period 2010-2015, to $241 billion during 2016-2020, as capacity installation from thermal fuels continues to decline due to an increased focus on renewable energy sources and environmental issues associated with fossil fuel-fired power plants, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that to meet growing demand for electricity, countries worldwide have focused on increasing installed capacity, primarily in the nuclear and renewables sectors. Aside from a transition towards cleaner sources of power generation, the other factors affecting this market are environmental concerns, tough economic conditions, and fluctuations in fossil fuel prices.

 

Swati Gupta, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, explains: “China will be the leader in this market, although its market is forecast to decline from around $17.7 billion in 2015 to $14.9 billion by 2020. Indeed, the gas power equipment market, although small when compared to the coal market, will register considerable growth over the forecast period, as China moves towards cleaner sources of power generation. As a means to achieve this, in its 12th Five-Year-Plan (FYP), China has set a target to increase the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 10% by 2020. The government also plans to replace conventional coal power plants with advanced technology large capacity power plants, which will represent new opportunities for market players.

Although this market will continue to be dominated by China, with an expected 31% share of this $47.8 billion market in 2020, challenges will remain. The market’s poor outlook in other regions, however, will ensure China remains dominant. In Europe, for example, declining electricity consumption coupled with increased emphasis on green energies will drive the market down.

Source: GlobalData

Last February, the Electric Metrology Laboratory (LME) of CIRCE, located in Zaragoza, obtained accreditation by ENAC (National Accreditation Entity) for carrying out the test to heating boilers for solid fuels, becoming the first laboratory accredited in our country under the UNE-EN 303-5:2013 standard. This accreditation will reduce the cost and complexity of the test benefiting from a nationally accredited centre.

Until now, there was no accredited laboratory in Spain so it was necessary to send the heating boilers to a foreign certified laboratory in order to perform the test. CIRCE carries out on site tests, displacing their own equipment to the customer facilities. This implies a reduction in transport costs, but on top of that a higher knowledge of the boiler and the test by the boiler manufacturer.

The scope of accreditation covers tests of heating boilers for solid fuels, manually and automatically stoked and a nominal heat output up to 500 kW and can determine the performance features, gas and particles emissions at rated and minimum power as well as safety requirements to be met by such boilers.

With this service, CIRCE will foster competitiveness of boiler manufacturers, favouring the market uptake of more efficient and sustainable boilers.

 

Source: CIRCE

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The village of El Atazar located in the mountains of Madrid, with 96 inhabitants, has provided the backdrop for the introduction of the first municipal district heating network powered by biomass in the Autonomous Community of Madrid. The network comprises two biomass boilers, two water tanks for energy accumulation and a primary pumping
system to supply the homes, in addition to control equipment, calorific energy meters and temperature measurement probes. It has taken more than 6 years to turn the first phase of the project into a reality, due to the studies that had to be undertaken, the permits, projects and funding requested by the town hall in question for its implementation.

The biomass-fuelled DHC network in El Atazar was undertaken by means of a public tender process to which various companies from different fields applied. Aplicaciones y Proyectos de Energía Solar S.L. (Aprosol S.L.) was the successful bidder for the execution and installation of the first phase of this innovative project.

This initial phase has included the thermal plant, the first phase of the distribution network and the first phase of connection to the houses. Two municipal buildings currently rented by the town council, the day centre for the elderly, two rural accommodation properties and the houses of the doctor and teacher form part of this initial phase of the network. The planning for subsequent phases includes extending the
network to other municipal buildings such as the medical centre and school.

Iñaki Íñiguez, Aprosol Director
Jorge Monasterio, Technical Dept. Desner Sistemas

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

Since 26 September 2015, the Ecodesign ErP Directive has been of compulsory application for EU Member States as regards the design of Energy-related Products (ErP) and as from its entry into force only those products manufactured according to the ErP requirements can be sold with the EC label. Although this directive affects over 1,000 product categories, for those relating to HVAC and DHW production, it covers boilers, heat pumps, accumulators, cogeneration systems, combined products systems, establishing their minimum efficiency levels, the maximum levels of NOX emissions, the minimum insulation for accumulators and the maximum level of acoustic emissions for heat pumps.

Heating and combi boilers that have had to comply with the ecodesign requirements since September 2015 include those with outputs of up to 400 kW, for which the standard has defined a minimum energy efficiency level to be complied with. This means that the new ErP Directive will prevent the sale of less efficient heating and combi boilers that do not meet the minimum performance requirements indicated in the Directive. In practice, this means that the market will tend towards condensing boilers which are almost the only type that can achieve the minimum requirements established by the ErP.

Another substantial change introduced by the Ecodesign Directive is that performance for the boilers that until now has been defined on the basis of the LCV (Low Calorific Value) will now be defined based on the HCV (High Calorific Value).. Read more…

Gaspar Martín
ACV, Technical Director

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2016

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