Owning and Operating Costs of Waste and Biomass Power Plants

Claverton Energy Conference, 23/24/25th October 2009

Dave Andrews, DAEC

Here are some broad brush head line figures for the owning and operating of a particular kind of advanced staged combustion power plant, obtained from a leading manufacturer, suitable for biomass, waste materials and waste wood. The process is essential combustion, but is referred to as gasification / combustion, meaning the material is first charred on a grate, with the off syngas being burnt in a separate adjacent and low level refractory chamber. The char is then burnt at a later stage as it moves down the great. This leads to greater burn up of fuel and lower emissions. The syngas combustion is maintained within the ceramic, and special gas flows prevent the contaminants in the gases fouling and degrading the ceramics.

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Hydrogen – the green currency of the future

All governments have pledged to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions; this effectively means that the world must move to:

Electricity from nuclear, renewable or decarbonised sources
Hydrogen from renewable or decarbonised sources
biomass derived methane gas or hydrocarbon liquids or
heat as a by-product, or from biomass, solar or geothermal sources.

Of these electricity and hydrogen are purely manufactured energy vectors competing as intermediaries between energy sources and final consumers. In recent years the tide seems to have moved to electricity as the ultimate solution, but this article will take issue with this. This is principally because of the severe cost implications associated with either electricity storage or its corollary – demand side management.

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