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Final three named in EfW design contest

Final three named in EfW design contest

09 April 2013 by Susanna Prouse


The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced a shortlist of three companies still in competition to design ‘the most economically and commercially viable, energy from waste (EfW) gasification demonstrator plant’.

Gasification is a process that converts organic or carbon-based materials into syngas, a combination fuel of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Advanced Plasma Power (APP), Broadcrown Ltd and Royal Dahlman were all selected from the companies that replied to ETI’s ‘request for proposals’ launched in April 2012. The companies will now design and develop projects plants ‘to demonstrate an integrated system that would be commercial at between five and 20 megawatts (MWe)’.

ETI – a public-private partnership between BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – has stated that the aim of this stage of the project, reportedly worth £2.8 million, is to ‘demonstrate how such a plant could create energy-from-waste efficiencies higher than previously produced in the industry at this scale’.

According to environmental consultancy AEA, current incineration plants operate at efficiency rates of 15 to 25 per cent. ETI has said that it accepts that there is a challenge with the designs, as ‘each complete system will need to operate at a net electrical efficiency of at least 25 per cent’.

The designs

The APP led consortium will design a six MWe demonstration facility featuring its Gasplasma technology, which uses a separate plasma furnace to ‘crack and clean the crude syngas from gasifier’.

Broadcrown will design a two MWe high-efficiency demonstration facility using ‘a robust yet highly scaleable concept that promotes distributed waste management and power generation’. The company is also partnering with ‘major European and American technology companies’ to demonstrate a combined cycle using syngas.

Royal Dahlman will develop a seven MWe plant using patented MILENA-OLGA technology, developed in cooperation with Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands. The company is heading a team of British, Swiss, American and Dutch partners.

The first phase of the project takes in design and will last 10 months. The winning submission will be selected in early 2014, based on cost and projected performance.

According to ETI, the plant that is selected could be designed, built, tested and in operation by 2016. The chosen plant is then expected to operate as a demonstration site for up to four years.

The competition reportedly marks the ‘first time’ a total system approach for an energy from waste gasification facility of this size has been considered in a Research and Development (R&D) project.

“The breakthrough we are all looking for”

Paul Winstanley, the ETI Bioenergy Project Manager overseeing the competition, said: “Our national modelling work shows that bioenergy could be a key component of any future energy systems mix to meet the demands of providing affordable, secure and sustainable energy.

“This analysis indicates that new plant designs at this scale could potentially operate at a net efficiency rate of at least 25 per cent, which significantly exceeds the performance of current plants in operation. Any successful design of such a plant will provide the opportunity to move towards more efficient, distributed energy conversion technologies and reduce dependency on landfill for waste management in the UK.”

Rolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, voiced his delight at being given the opportunity to demonstrate the ‘Gasplasma waste to energy technology’ as it “improves competition in the market for the generation of electricity from syngas”.

Broadcrown Ltd’s co-founder and Managing Director, David Borgman said the commission was a “welcome endorsement of [Broadcrown’s] commitment to providing the best engineering expertise and delivering systems to the highest possible standard”.

Jan-Willem Könemann, Renewable Technology Executive at Royal Dahlman, added: “In the current economical situation it is hard to finance innovative and therewith risky projects launching new technology. This ETI project, resulting in a technical and commercial successful waste to energy plant, will be the breakthrough we are all looking for.”

Read more about The Energy Techologies Institute’s shortlist

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