A Technical and Economic Analysis of Large Scale Biomass Combustion

D McIlveen-Wright, Ye Huang, S Rezvani, A Ghayur, David A.G. Redpath, Ashok Dave, Neil Hewitt

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Large scale power plants have not been considered in the past for several reasons e.g. fossil fuels have higher energy density, the previous low cost of fossil fuels, the availability of the required amounts of biomass and the cost of biomass transportation. However, the impending scarcity of fossil fuels and their increased price, as well as environmental concerns, have led to renewed interest in the use of biomass for power generation. Many power plant operators have been encouraged by subventions to test cofiring of biomass with coal, which has often proved lucrative with little reduction in generation efficiency or significant impact on capital cost, and this, in turn, has increased familiarity with the characteristics of biomass, its handling, diminution, drying, storage and use at power plants and the details of its supply chain.One example of this increase in interest in biomass is the 350 MWe CFBC power plant at Port Talbot in Wales, and another example of a large biomass power plant is the 44 MWe Bubbling Fluidised Bed system at Steven’s Croft, Lockerbie in Scotland. The technical, environmental and economic analysis of such technologies, using the ECLIPSE suite of process simulation software, is the subject of this study. The models are based on publicly-available data from the previously mentioned plants, but are not intended to replicate them. System efficiencies for generating electricity and CO2 emissions are evaluated and compared with a large coal-fired CFBC plant and a typical supercritical PF power plant. The specific investment (SI) and break-even electricity selling price (BESP) for each system were calculated and compared with the coal-fired plants. The sensitivity of the economics of both large power plants to such factors as fuel cost, load factor and insurance, operational and maintenance costs for two discount cash flow rates was investigated. The BESP for the two biomass plants modeled were found to be competitive with the coal-fired plants at low wood costs, even without any subventions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Place of PublicationFlorence
PublisherEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Pages1319- 1327
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-88-89407-55-7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 Oct 2011
Event19th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 14 Oct 2011 → …


Conference19th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition
Period14/10/11 → …

Bibliographical note

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  • fluidized bed
  • modelling
  • power generation
  • economic aspects


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