Text and photo: Harald Danielsen
Contact: Mette Bugge
Heimdal heating plant in Trondheim, Norway - flush mounted: Wood chips stored in Fauske, Norway
Electricity production based on biomass, such as wood chips and municipal solid waste, is almost non-existent in Norway. Only Oslo and Bergen operate waste fired plants that produce steam for electricity production. According to senior research scientist Lars Sørum, who is the project manager, Norway has the potential to produce as much as 40 TWh of heat and/or electricity from biomass per year. Today, we only exploit 15 TWh, which includes 7.5 TWh for wood-firing and 7.5 TWh in district heating and industrial process heating.
Can give 3 TWh of electricity
- The high fuel cost and the low efficiency has discouraged the production of electricity from biomass in Norway. The aCom project will change this. We will now extract 50 % more electricity from each kilo of fuel. Of the potential 40 TWh, around 10 TWh is probably available for electricity production. With the current efficiency of 20 %, this will give us 2 TWh of electricity. The more effective solutions that are now being tested will give another 1 TWh without increasing the amount of fuel. Biomass can subsequently produce an annual 3 TWh of electricity in Norway and imports of biomass may of course make this even higher, says Lars Sørum.
The term biomass covers pure wood, such as wood chips and branches/roots, and municipal solid waste. Biomass is a renewable source of energy. The combustion of wood does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions as long as the new trees are planted to replace the onse that are taken out for energy recovery. This will enable CO2 from the combustion to be absorbed by the new trees.
Building and rebuilding
The solutions being tested in the project should be possible to use both through the building of new combustion plants as well as the rebuilding of already existing ones. This concerns the enrichment of oxygen and nitrogen in the combustion air, combustion with reduced excess air, combustion of low-value fuel and the use of additives in the combustion chamber for flue gas cleaning. The project activities are also very significant for district heating production and the solutions will reduce operational and maintenance costs at energy facilities that supply district heating – and subsequently make district heating less expensive.
aCom is a competence building project with user interaction (KMB project) supported by the Research Council of Norway through the Renergi programme. Industrial partners include Waste Management Norway, Trondheim Energi Fjernvarme AS and the Waste-to-Energy group in the City of Oslo. There is close cooperation between SINTEF Energy Research and NTNU in the project and the education of combustion experts at NTNU is an integral part of the project.
Project progress, presentation of results and national/international cooperation
Since the initiation of the project in 2006, several experiments have been carried out in the rebuilt multi-fuel reactor and these have yielded very promising results. One of the ambitions of the project was to develop new projects in relation to the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. This ambition is stated in the BIOPOWER proposal sent to the Commission in June 2007. This project has a 5-year budget of about NOK 180 million. 13 partners from 8 different nations will participate in the project in order to help EU reach its objective of increasing the energy production from biomass. SINTEF Energy Research is the coordinator of BIOPOWER.
In addition, different types of dissemination of information and network-building activities such as seminars, brainstorming sessions, study visits and publishing of newsletters have been carried out. The latest information of what happens in relation to the project can be found on the project’s own web page.
A broad international network of contacts is involved in the project. An important part is the participation in the International Energy Agency’s activities concerning energy from waste and biomass, as well as the tight contact with internationally recognized R&D groups in the NextGenBioWaste project that is co-funded by the European Commission.