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10 Apr 2013 02:04:30

Royal Dahlman project in collaboration with NNFCC shortlisted for gasifier pilot funding

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced the shortlist of companies vying for £2.8 million in funding to build an energy from waste gasification demonstrator plant.

In 2012, the ETI launched a competition to find a company to design "the most economically and commercially viable, efficient energy from waste gasification demonstrator plant possible".

The ETI has now narrowed down its search to three companies; Advanced Plasma Power, Broadcrown Ltd and Royal Dahlman. Each company has been commissioned to design and develop a gasification plant that could operate at between 5 and 20 megawatt (MWe) scale.

One plant will be chosen from the shortlist to be built and is expected to be fully operational by 2016. The expectation is that once completed, the chosen plant will operate as a demonstration site for up to four years.

ETI said this was 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 project.

ETI is a public-private partnership between industry – BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – and the UK Government. The aim of the ETI commissioned and funded £2.8m project is to demonstrate how such a plant could create energy from waste at efficiencies higher than previously produced in the industry at this scale. The challenge is that each complete system will need to operate at a net electrical efficiency of at least 25 per cent.

NNFCC is helping Royal Dahlman with their project by providing supporting technical consultancy including site selection, waste supply and regulatory understanding and requirements. Royal Dahlman will develop a plant with an electrical output of 7MWe using patented MILENA-OLGA technology, developed in cooperation with ECN.

The patented technology will convert the waste into a clean gas suitable for an efficient combined cycle power plant. This integrated gasification combined cycle demonstration plant could be the stepping stone to larger and even more efficient plants, said Royal Dahlman.

Jan-Willem Könemann, renewable technology executive at Royal Dahlman, said: "We are convinced that the MILENA-OLGA technology is one of the most advanced and efficient gasification technologies available today. 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."

Dr Geraint Evans, head of biofuels and bioenergy at NNFCC, added: "We are delighted to be providing support to such a groundbreaking project, gasification can help unlock the value of waste by providing clean heat and power, as well as valuable chemicals and fuels."

"In recent years the UK has lost ground to other countries developing gasification technologies and this demonstrator project should help put the UK back on the map," he added.

Stage one of the project (the design phase) will last ten months and phase two of the project will see the winning design selected in early 2014, with selection based on cost and projected performance.

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. We have already completed an extensive analysis of the existing energy from waste technologies currently available, as well as the breakdown and quantities of typical UK municipal, commercial and industrial waste."

"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," he concluded.

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