To reduce Bulgaria’s heavy dependence on imported energy, a landmark biomass-to-energy plant powered by GE’s (NYSE:GE) Jenbacher gas engine technology is being built near Stroevo, in Plovdiv province.
The 5-megawatt (MW) Karlovo plant will use three of GE’s fuel-flexible, robust and high-efficiency Jenbacher engines—one J612 and two J620 units—powered by syngas derived from straw and wood chips and will produce enough electricity to power 2,000 homes. Such organic waste is normally difficult to gasify effectively, but tight integration of EQTEC Iberia’s biomass-gasification technology with GE’s proven gas engines will provide high levels of emissions performance, efficiency and economy.
Scheduled for completion by the end of 2014, the plant is being built by EQTEC Iberia, part of Spanish holding company Ebioss Energy AD (MAB: EBI). It is the latest development in Ebioss’ strategy to apply its Integrated Biomass Gasification Cogeneration Power Plant (IBGPP) technology throughout Europe to help countries reduce their dependence on foreign energy supplies and to increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources. The country’s target is for 16 percent of its energy demand to be met by domestic renewable sources by 2020, but at present more than 70 percent of its energy is from imported natural gas and oil.
“Gasifying biomass for energy usage—in this case, straw and wood chips—requires special know-how, and our engineers and GE’s team worked as one team to integrate EQTEC Gasifier Technology and GE’s power generation technologies for improved performance and economics,” said Luis Sanchez CEO, EBIOSS. “The IBGPP plant we developed achieves a far higher electrical efficiency than the thermal technologies traditionally used in a plant of this size. For example, a typical Rankine thermal cycle-based plant offers
an electrical efficiency of 18 to 20 percent from converting biomass to electricity compared to using
GE’s Jenbacher gas engines that offer approximately 28 percent electrical efficiency and almost 70 percent total combined heat and power efficiency. This will enable us to deploy the IBGPP technology economically with GE elsewhere in Bulgaria and in other nations to help them enjoy greater energy independence and fuel diversity.”
Syngas is attractive because it is a continually renewable fuel that enables power to be produced economically on-site at the point of use, reducing losses inherent in electrical transmission. It also helps to solve a waste-disposal problem by converting organic wastes into fuel. With the EQTEC Gasifier Technology, steam and hot water can be generated with no reduction in output power, so overall plant efficiency will be much higher when the plant is used for district heating or other cogeneration applications in addition to power production.