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Design phase complete in £2.8m ETI waste to energy gasification competition

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Companies in £2.8m ETI competition to design the most economically & commercially viable, efficient energy from waste gasification demonstrator plant possible complete the design phase successfully

The three companies in the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) £2.8m competition to design an economically and commercially viable, efficient energy from waste gasification demonstrator plant have all completed the design phase of the competition with flying colours.

Advanced Plasma Power, Broadcrown and Royal Dahlman were each commissioned last year to design and develop a plant to demonstrate an integrated waste to energy gasification system that would be commercial at between 5 and 20 megawatts (MWe). The chosen plant could now be designed, built, tested and in operation by 2016 at sites in Tyseley in Birmingham, Wednesbury in the West Midlands and Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire, depending on the design taken forward.

All three teams worked hard to provide evidenced designs – known in industry as Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies – over a 10 month period. The designs were tested through a combination of laboratory and pilot-scale testing on different feedstocks and through underlying process modelling. This is thought to be the first time a total system design approach for three energy from waste gasification facilities of this size have been reviewed to this level of detail in a research and development project.

The gasification project is part of the ETI’s Bioenergy programme, which is looking at the application of sustainable biomass and waste resources for flexible and affordable low carbon energy.
The decision as to which demonstrator plant the ETI expects to help fund for construction is being made by the ETI, with the help and advice of an advisory group made up of independent experts. The decision will be announced in the next few months.

The expectation is that once constructed, the chosen plant will initially operate as a demonstration site for up to three years. After that, the plant will continue to operate as a commercial venture. The technical challenge is that the complete integrated system will need to operate with a net electrical efficiency of at least 25% and an availability of at least 80%.

The consortium led by Advanced Plasma Power designed a demonstration facility with a net electrical output of 5MWe, producing a clean syngas using their patented Gasplasma® technology. The Gasplasma® process uses a separate plasma furnace to crack and clean the crude syngas from a gasifier prior to its direct utilisation in gas engines. Planning permission for the site at Tyseley in Birmingham was granted by Birmingham City Council in December 2013.

UK company Broadcrown designed a demonstration facility with an electrical output of 3MWe using a concept that promotes distributed waste management and power generation. Broadcrown participated with major European and American technology companies, including a gas engine manufacturer, to demonstrate a combined cycle process with high-efficiency using syngas. Planning permission for the site at Wednesbury was granted by Sandwell Council in November 2013.

Royal Dahlman led a team of British, Swiss, American and Dutch partners, to develop a plant with an electrical output of 7MWe using the patented MILENA-OLGA technology, developed in cooperation with ECN. This will convert the waste into a clean syngas suitable for a high-efficiency combined cycle power plant, using gas turbines for the power conversion. Planning permission for the site at Grimsby is expected to be granted by North East Lincolnshire Council shortly.

Paul Winstanley, the ETI Bioenergy Project Manager overseeing the competition, said: “We are delighted to have had three really strong designs for the first stage of our competition. Each proposal was extremely well received by the Planners and the Environment Agency. Our request was to design an economically and commercially viable, efficient energy from waste gasification demonstrator plant, and each of these three companies demonstrated they could exceed our specifications on a variety of feedstocks.”

Rolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power said: “We are very pleased to have submitted a strong proposal for this project. We are now looking forward to making progress developing our significant project pipeline at home and overseas. We have found the ETI process very valuable in helping us develop a commercially attractive smaller offering of 5 MWe which is around a third of the size of our standard offering.”

Broadcrown Chief Technologist, Kamal Kalsi, commented: “We were delighted to be a participant in Phase I which has resulted in obtaining both planning and permitting at the designated site in Wednesbury. We look forward to the decision from the ETI on Phase II which if to our advantage will enable us to commence our commercialisation plan of delivering over 50 plants across the UK within the next 10 years.”

Jan-Willem Könemann, Sales Manager Renewable Technology, Royal Dahlman, added: “The MILENA-OLGA-IGCC plant we are developing in Grimsby will set a new standard in waste to energy efficiency. The core technology for the 7 MW Grimsby facility will have a net electric efficiency above 30% (from waste derived fuel), and can be optimised to 33-34%. The Grimsby plant will be the basis for future scaled up plants using the same technology and reaching efficiencies well over 35%. Moreover the plant will be the ideal research basis for the technology development for production of gaseous en liquid fuels from waste.”

Steve Lee, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management added: “This support to develop and demonstrate the viability of advanced treatment technology to capture the energy value in residual wastes is extremely welcome. Gasification offers the potential for highly efficient conversion of waste into fuel, contributing to a more sustainable, low carbon and energy secure future.”

• The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies – BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – and the UK Government.
• Public sector representation is through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with funding channelled through the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Department of Energy and Climate Change are observers on the Board.
• The ETI brings together engineering projects that accelerate the development of affordable, secure and sustainable technologies that help the UK address its long term emissions reductions targets as well as delivering nearer term benefits.

Source: The Energy Technologies Institute

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