GE Energy, Nexterra Developing Small-Scale Biomass Gasification System


GE Energy, Nexterra Developing Biomass Gasification System Image credit:Nexterra

This post is about processing wood into clean combustible gas that will generate electricity and provide useful heat as a byproduct. Canada has plenty of wood scrap lying around: hence it makes sense to test it up in the Great White Biomass. Nexterra Energy is commercializing its biomass gasification technology to generate power and heat from by direct-firing syngas into high efficiency gas engines. This is for small-scale plants (2 — 10 MWe). Why is this good, you may wonder?

What would you rather have for a small community, for example:

Choice #1:- individual wood stoves providing heat only in the 30-75% efficiency range (depending on stove design) and regional grid-delivered electricity produced in the 30-40% efficiency range;

Choice #2:- getting electricity and heat at combined 60% efficiency (when run in cogeneration mode), using centrally managed pollution controls and locally produced fuel.

From Nexterra's release:

This initiative follows two years of intensive work by Nexterra to upgrade syngas made by gasifying biomass so that it meets the fuel specification of GE Jenbacher's internal combustion engines. GE has supported this work through its Jenbacher gas engine division. Nexterra has also received support from Canada's National Research Council (NRC-IRAP) and the Province of British Columbia.

Here's the money quote:

"Biomass power generation is a multi-billion market opportunity driven by rising power prices and Renewable Portfolio Standards," said Jonathan Rhone, President and CEO of Nexterra Energy. "Our objective is to exploit this opportunity by creating a new standard of small-scale biomass power solution that has widespread application as a distributed generation solution. We believe this approach has significant advantages over large-scale, centralized combustion-based biomass power plants in terms of higher efficiency, lower fuel risk and reduced emissions."

More posts on small-scale cogeneration alternatives.
Honda and Climate Energy Team Up with Freewatt
Efficiency is Crucial to a Green Future
Biogas from Cow Dung in Luxembourg

Tags: Biomass | Canada