Biomass Power Generation Systems
A small Basque company (Spain) has developed a new power generation technology using biomass, based on their patented ceramic regenerator. Efficiency over 30% electrical to biomass LHV (lower heating value) has been demonstrated. The new technology opens the possibility of low to medium power generation avoiding complex logistics and transportation cost of biomass. The company is interested in license agreement.
Biomass generation is being recently developed as a widespread and commercial solution. Several systems are under investigation. Either biomass is burned in a boiler, where steam or vapour is produced and then directed to a steam turbine, or it is treated to obtain a poor gas and then injected in a gas engine. The first system has low efficiency due to the limitations of steam turbines, resulting in overall efficiencies in the order of 15%. The second one, has the disadvantage of the gasifying system with a conversion efficiency of 70-80% typically, resulting in an overall efficiency around 20%.
Both systems present an important economy of scale, and no systems under 500 kW are offered currently. A 1000 kW power system consumes about 8000 tons of biomass per year with a conversion rate about 1 kWh electrical per kilogram of biomass. With rare exceptions, biomass is transported from fields to the power plant over 100 km due to lack of availability nearby, resulting in cost per energy unit similar to natural gas and serious difficulties of biomass supply in wintertime.
To increase the efficiency, an external combustion high efficiency engine must be used. Several projects are dealing with this issue. Most of them are tube-and-shell metallic recuperators, resulting in high volume and cost to withstand corrosion. Typical performance results are below 80% in heat exchange efficiency.
This Basque company has demonstrated 95% efficiency with zero leakage and 5% pressure drop by using proprietary alternative ceramic regenerator technology. Adapting this technology to current biomass boiler technology and current microturbine technology a higher than 30% overall efficiency power system can be obtained. Metallic recuperators as compared with the new ceramic regenerator cost nearly 100 times more and represent typically one third of the overall cost of the equipment. With this figures, the new concept wipes out the economy of scale of the current systems. Innovative Aspects: Solution with higher energy efficiency and cost effectiveness than current technologies.
30% electrical to raw biomass heating value due to high efficiency of new ceramic regenerator.
No need for gasifying system allows small and cost effective solution for small to medium power source.
Small power generation system makes better use of resources, eliminating transport cost and complex logistics.
Renewable power source of guaranteed performance as there is no dependence on weather and climate conditions.
Possibility of low temperature exhaust heat recovery for agricultural applications for enhanced efficiency and economic return.
Low voltage generation, makes no need for reinforcement of transport, distribution lines and transformers.
Estado de desarrollo
Available for demonstration - field tested
Nichos de Mercado
Increase profitability of agricultural and wood industries. Low to medium power generation by utilization of biomass residue in small and medium size fields with agricultural or wood activity. No transport of biomass is required. Biomass storage is affordable. In a future stage, power supply for remote areas with availability of biomass. Applicability to power generation of rural and remote areas and developing countries where there are logistics difficulties and high price of conventional fuels.