The success to developing a commercially viable distributed biomass power system lies in understanding the market characteristics, designing a power system that overcomes many market barriers and maximizes the benefits. It allows you to design systems based on functional, which avoids certain constraints and restraint factors that are inherent to biomass as an energy source. The key barriers of the biomass market are the following:

  • The biomass resource is usually highly distributed and has low energy density. It makes transportation costs uneconomical beyond approximately 50 miles.
  • The physical and chemical characteristics of biomass vary significantly from source to source. No turnkey system currently exists that can utilize a wide variety of biomass types.
  • Biomass producers are not energy companies and do not want to become one. In addition, the ratio of operating and maintenance costs (O&M) to power production is high relative to much larger centralized power systems. Power systems require specialized training. The prospect of hiring additional engineers and technicians specifically for that system can eliminate any return on investment for the producers.
  • Current gasification or combustion systems may produce other types of emissions and wastes, such as SO2 and tars, which require additional costs to mitigate or dispose of.

Although all these limits and deterrents seem to be rather negative, they serve as clear criteria for choosing certain technologies from the general list. Of course, they can not overcome the benefits of using biomass as a source of energy. These benefits are as follows:

  • Economic indicators for the use of biomass waste are increasingly positive, observing the high price in the direct and indirect sense of traditional energy sources, as well as comprehensive state support, in particular through green tariffs, subsidies, etc.
  • Biomasswaste products, as a rule, have a low alternative cost, and therefore generating sites located near the source of biomass waste have the opportunity to receive raw materials at low prices.
  • Objects of biomass energy generation have a positive socio-economic effect by creating jobs and taxes in local budgets.
  • Biomass energy generation facilities allow diversification of companies that own raw materials, reducing the risk of adverse events in the core business of such a company.

Approaches to the design of objects and systems for generating energy in biomass

In order to maximize the benefits of implementing a biomass project as an energy source, it is necessary to determine the philosophy of the approach to each particular project. Namely, to determine what are the requirements for a biomass conversion system are put forward in order of decreasing importance, for example: (1) safety and reliability, (2) low maintenance operating costs (3) versatility in relation to the type of raw material, (4) low capital expenditures .

Exactly the above-mentioned factors allow us to outline the technology or technologies that best perform the tasks in the course of long-term and profitable work. We note the fact that such a factor as the efficiency of the use of raw materials (raw material consumption per unit of energy produced), is not included in this list. As many economic studies have shown, for biomass waste, which is low or even zero, efficiency only matters if it is significantly affected by capital costs and maintenance.

Electric power plant and thermal power plant – electricity generation from biomass

Electric power plants and thermal power plants using plant biomass for the production of electricity or electric and thermal energy (cogeneration) are attractive from the point of view of investing. These facilities have high returns due to the use of local raw materials that have low alternative costs and minimize transportation costs. Not the last role in ensuring the profitability and sustainability of this business in Ukraine belongs to the state, which legally guarantees the purchase of all electricity produced by renewable energy installations by 2030. This factor is one of the key factors for a positive decision on the issue of providing bank financing to Ukrainian banks through foreign credit lines.

The experience of our company in the implementation of projects on the construction of renewable energy facilities in Ukraine, proves the possibility of obtaining bank financing from foreign credit resources in the amount of up to 80% of the total cost of construction facility, with an attractive interest rate in euros or US dollars.

The specialists of our company have developed a number of typical thermal power plants` decisions in biomass for the use of complex thermochemical conversion, plant biomass types (straw, agricultural crop residues, cultivars, energy plants) for the production of electric energy and its sale to the network for the “green” tariff, with the possibility of transferring the system to its own consumption mode when turning off the power supply in the general network. If necessary, these objects, in addition to electricity, can operate in the electric power plant, that is also produce heat (in the form of hot water or steam) for industrial and /or domestic needs.

Bioenergy projects for farms

The list of required technological processes depends on the characteristics of the selected raw materials and other starting conditions, and therefore, is selected for each project individually. The general characteristics of the thermal power plants on biomass are as follows:

  • electric power of the thermal power plant – up to 1 MW;
  • the area of land for collecting raw materials – up to 5 thousand hectares;
  • the area of the land plot near the thermal power plant is 0.5 hectares;
  • the area of the land plot for the storage of raw materials – 2 hectares;
  • amount of investments up to 1 million euros;
  • the payback period of 2-3 years (subject to connection on the “green” tariff).

Benefits for farmers investing in thermal power plants on Biomass:

  • availability of own raw material base (straw, crop remnants);
  • the legally guaranteed size of the “green” tariff by 2030 for the sale of electricity to the general network;
  • supplying the economy with electricity for own needs during periods of disconnection of supply from the general network;
  • possibility of using thermal energy for industrial and domestic needs.

Bioenergy projects for agrarian companies

The general characteristics of the thermal power plant on biomass are as follows:

  • electric power of the thermal power plant – up to 3 MW;
  • the area of the land for collecting raw materials – up to 20 thousand hectares;
  • the area of the land plot near the thermal power plant is 0.5 hectares;
  • the area of land for the storage of raw materials – 5 hectares;
  • amount of investments – up to 3 million euros;
  • the payback period of 2-3 years (subject to connection on the “green” tariff).

Benefits for agricultural companies from investing in this project:

  • availability of own raw material base (straw, crop remnants);
  • the legally guaranteed size of the “green” tariff by 2030 for the sale of electricity to the general network;
  • possibility of using thermal energy for industrial and domestic needs;
  • diversification of business activities; vertical integration of business;
  • the image of the company that introduces the latest renewable energy technologies.

Gasification of biomass – gasifiers on biofuels for the production of heat and electricity

Biomass energy can be converted into energy-friendly ways for practical use (combustion, gasification and pyrolysis). One of the perspective ways of using biomass is its gasification for the purpose of further production of electricity and heat at thermal power plants. It is not a secret that direct burning of local solid fuels is not rational due to the low efficiency of this technology (30-50%). Due to the gasification of solid biofuels in its pure form or in a mixture with other types of organic fuel, an increase in efficiency is observed. One of the most rational methods is the gasification of biomass with the production of combustible (generative) gases in gas generators. At the same time, reliability, efficiency, environmental friendliness and safety of heat-mechanic equipment increases. Modern gas generators allow to provide highly efficient combustion of all types of solid biofuels in the mode of gas generation.

Gasification is the process of combustion of biofuels at a temperature of 800-1500 ° C in the presence of air or oxygen and water with the result of synthesis gas or generator gas with a heat of combustion from 10,000 to 16,700 kJ / m3. Application of technologies of gasification of solid fuel, as a component of biomass, allows it to be used for the operation of any type of internal combustion engines. At the same time, when switching to gas-generating gas, the power of engines practically does not change, the ecological characteristics are significantly improved, their motor resource increases by 40-50%. Replacement of refined petroleum products and natural gas with cheap solid biofuels (waste wood industry, specially prepared agricultural waste, etc.) can ultimately produce a significant economic effect.

Gas generators for work on biomass

Gas generators are developed and successfully used in Ukraine, which allow to process local fuel (trim of branches, firewood, peat, sawdust briquettes and other waste products) into fuel for internal combustion engines, including – for engines of electric generating sets. Due to lower calorific value of generator gas, compared to oil products, there is a loss of power in the range from 5% to 15% determined, but the inclusion of the fan achieves an increase in engine power. The use of gas in ICEs with the subsequent production of electricity imposes strict requirements on gasifiers and the quality of the gases received. The need for purification, cooling and mixing of gas makes the technology difficult, and experience with such devices has shown that such power plants are sensitive to changes in fuel characteristics, changes in equipment load, service quality and environmental conditions. On the basis of modern gas generators, heat and power plants can be built on wood waste (sawdust, cod, bark, etc.) and plant growing (straw, stems and sunflower husk, corn stalks, etc.).