Commercial development of bioenergy (combined heat and power) facilities

EurObserv’ER Solid Biomass Barometer for 2012 estimates that primary energy production from biomass in the EU was 82.3 million metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). This included 79.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity and 68 Mtoe heat. Use of biomass for heat and power is also developing rapidly in the United States: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects reported 777 MW of new biomass capacity in 2013.

Examples of large scale bioenergy projects in Europe

A number of new large-scale bioenergy CHP plants are now being constructed in Europe and around the world. For example, in November 2014, it was announced that Abengoa will be developing a €315m biomass power plant producing 215MW of 'bioelectricity' on behalf of Belgian Eco Energy (Bee) at Ghent, Belgium. The feedstock includes wood chips and agro-residues.

A 69MW plant based at a Smurfit Kappa Group paper facility in France commenced operation in September 2012. In 2014 the Bio Golden Raand 49.9MW biomass power began operations at the port of Delfzijl, Netherlands. The plant is operated by Eneco and was developed by Ballast Nedam Industriebouw and Metso Power Oy. Also in Netherlands, the Essent power plant in Geertruidenberg co-fires 34% biomass in one of its units.

In 2015, the number of large biomass power plants in Europe continues to increase. In the UK, the £150m Rotherham Biomass Plant will use a B&W Vølund-designed multi-fuel boiler with a DynaGrate fuel combustion system, a dry flue gas desulfurization system and will burn waste wood to generate approximately 40MW of electricity. The contract to build the plant has been awarded to Interserve. The Nokianvirran Energia biomass boiler plant, Finland, will use a 68MW HYBEX boiler supplied by Valmet, including fluidized bed technology, flue gas purification equipment, and the plant's electrification and automation system. The new steam heat station will be built by Nokia.

In July 2013, RWE npower closed the 750MW biomass power station at Tilbury, UK, citing a lack of investment capacity and technical difficulties in converting the plant to use biomass in place of coal. However, work continues on the £400m, 300MW Tees Renewable Energy Plant (Tees REP) in North East England, which will generate around 2.4 TWhrs of electricity from biomass each year, enough to power 600,000 homes. It will enter commercial operation in 2016. There are also plans to convert the 400MW Lymington coal-fired power plant to biomass, with investment support from DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change). However a planned 100MW plant at Port of Blyth in Northumberland ceased development in March 2014, with RES citing inconsistent UK energy policy as a key factor.

In June 2010, the world's largest biomass co-firing project was commissioned at the Drax coal power station, which has an installed power cpacity of 4000 MWe and provides 7% of the UK's electricity. The plant aims to use 10% biomass (1.5m tonnes per year). In October 2012, Drax and Centrica cancelled plans for new biomass plants, both citing lack of government support. Drax is proceeding with a smaller £700m project that will convert half of its existing 4,000 MW coal-fired plant at Selby, North Yorkshire, to biomass. This follows a decision by the government to reduce subsidies for new-build biomass plants and instead focus on conversion of coal planbts to biomass.

In December 2013 it was announced that work will begin on a 10.3 MW biomass gasification plant in Tyseley, UK. The plant will use the biomass gasification process of the Canadian firm Nexterra Systems to convert 67,000 metric tons of locally-sourced woodwaste into power.

The Biomass CHP Plant Güssing, which started operation in 2002, has a fuel capacity of 8 MW and an electrical output of about 2 MWel with an electrical efficiency of about 25 %. Wood chips with a water content of 20 – 30 % are used as fuel. The plant consists of a dual fluidized bed steam gasifier, a two-stage gas cleaning system, a gas engine with an electricity generator, and a heat utilization system.

In Summer 2012, CHO Power completed construction of a demonstration facility in Morcenx, France to gasify 37,000 tonnes of ordinary industrial waste and 15,000 tonnes wood chips per annum, generating power for EDF.

In December 2011, CHO Power SAS (a subsidiary of Europlasma) and Sunrise Renewables announced plans to build 4 high temperature plasma gasification facilities at UK docks to convert waste wood into clean syngas. The Syngas will be cleaned further and the tar removed, prior to power production via gas engine generators.

A market study by CHO Power in 2012, estimated that by 2030 107 advanced gasification plants will need to be built in the UK as well as 126 advanced gasification plants in France to meet EU targets for renewable energy.

The demonstration plant at Skive Fjernvarme in Denmark converts wood to combined heat and power (CHP) production via gasification, generating 120k MWh of district heating and 22k MW of electricity. "A single bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) gasifier and related equipment converts wood pellets to fuel gas for three reciprocating engines in a combined heat and power (CHP) in the CHP plant. The engines generate electrical energy (two MW each) from which the heat is recovered for the community’s district heating needs. Two gas boilers in the facility can also utilize the biomass-derived gas providing additional district heat."

REACT Energy is developing two biomass gasification CHP demonstrations in Newry, Northern Ireland (2-4 MW) and Enfield, England (12 MW), with further 12MW installations planned in Plymouth and Derbyshire, UK. Gasification technology for Phase 1 of the project in Newry was provided by Zeropoint. GE Jenbacher engines are now being installed by Clarke Energy.

In March 2014, Xergi announced it will be developing the lagest biogas plant in France at Hagetmau, which each year will convert 153,000 tons of biomass to biogas, which will be used to generate 37.8 million kWh of electricity.