A recent collaboration has been made in the UK to make bioenergy more cost-effective and resourceful. Forest Fuel, a supplier of wood pellets and wood chips is proud to be part of the new £2.2 million initiative alongside Uniper Technologies and the University of Sheffield and Leeds. Working with Uniper Technologies, the experts will lead the project from start to finish and help to clear out contaminants from biomass fuels. A prototype plant to pre-treat different forms of biomass and remove impurities will be built at Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire. Together, they will spend the next 18 months removing the impurities from biomass to make bioenergy cheaper and more efficient transforming this into the energy source of the future.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) launched the new biomass feedstock improvement process project with the aim of showing how the removal of impurities and contaminated material from sustainable biomass could make bioenergy cheaper and more efficient, consequently delivering better greenhouse gas savings. The cleaned feedstocks will then be blended and combustion tested at University of Sheffield’s Pilot scale Advanced Capture Technology Facilities, with expertise from the University’s Energy 2050 Institute. The University of Leeds is also a partner on the project and will test the ash produced during combustion testing.
Gill Alker, Head of Consultancy at Forest Fuels, ( @Forestfuels ) said, “We want to show that improving the quality of biomass feedstocks in this way is a viable way of increasing the amount of sustainable sources of bioenergy, obtaining more energy from them and delivering improved greenhouse gas savings.”
Biomass fuels, including waste wood, arboricultural and forestry residues, and purpose-grown biomass feedstocks such as Miscanthus, often contain undesirable contaminants, picked up for example during harvesting, transport or storage. The idea behind the project is that this pre-treatment process will reduce such concentrations and therefore deliver downstream operational benefits and value.
The ETI project will use various biomass feedstocks including waste wood, energy crops and other waste arisings to test the process. If successful this process could lead to lower environmental and operating costs for power producers leading to a lower cost of low carbon energy.
Geraint Evans, ETI Bioenergy Programme Manager, said, “A lot of waste wood currently ends up in landfill sites or is used in incinerators. This project will take waste wood, wash it and blend it to remove impurities to make it as clean as possible in the lowest cost way. By removing such impurities this will lead to improvements in the efficiency of biomass boilers and the feedstocks used within them.”
The intention is that once the process has been proven and tested it could then be used on other bioenergy crops and scaled up to treat larger amounts of material creating even greater efficiencies.
Peter Solly, Managing Director of Forest Fuels, added, “Building on Forest Fuels’ experience of developing new products and markets in the virgin wood fuel sector, this project is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of the next generation of bioenergy feedstocks. Improving the quality of biomass feedstocks is a big opportunity for the future, and Forest Fuels is delighted to be leading this project.”
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