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Bio-energy is playing a growing role in sustainable energy

Metso Corporation
Metso is strongly committed to promoting sustainability. The proven capabilities of its broad range of environmentally efficient technologies and services benefit industry and society worldwide – not least in the area of bio-energy.

The market for carbon-neutral energy generation is growing rapidly, driven by the ambitious renewable energy targets and incentives that have been introduced in many countries and regions around the world. The EU, for example, wants to see renewable energy account for 20% of final energy consumption by 2020. Around 30 states in the US have set their own targets for increasing the use of renewable energy, and a number of Asian countries are also promoting the development of bio-energy.

The transition from fossil-based power generation will require a significant increase in investments in carbon-neutral energy generation and the use of advanced, flexible biomass technology.

Many of the world’s largest bio-energy power plants already rely on Metso technology, and the company has supplied over 13 GW of renewablesbased power boiler capacity since 2000. By firing renewables rather than coal, this has made it possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a figure equivalent to the CO2 released by over 24 million cars.

Alholmens Kraft, the world’s largest biomassfired power plant – rated at 550 MWth and featuring a multifuel circulating fluidised boiler – is based on Metso technology. Thanks to its advanced design, the plant can use up to 100% biomass input, which has helped reduce emissions significantly.

One of the largest biomass-based power plants in Central Europe, supplied to Dalkia in France by Metso, was commissioned in October 2010. This combined heat and power (CHP) plant located at Facture is primarily fired on bark and forest residues and generates 50 MW of electricity for the national grid and 74 MW of process steam for a nearby Smurfit Kappa paper mill.

In the case of both customers, Metso’s delivery included the boiler, flue-gas cleaning and fuel handling systems, and the complete automation system. Concentrating procurement with a single expert supplier like this reduces the likelihood of delays during construction and ensures that equipment is seamlessly compatible.

Metso’s long cooperation with Dalkia, which operates 176 biomass facilities worldwide, received another boost in autumn 2010, when Dalkia announced the go-ahead for the conversion of a pulverised coal boiler into a biomass-fired boiler at Łódź in Poland using Metso technology.

Dalkia’s new 50 MWe biomass power plant in France features a Metso multifuel boiler, together with Metso-supplied flue gas cleaning, fuel handling, and automation systems.

New biomass technologies

Environmental businesses, and bio-energy and metal and solid waste recycling solutions in particular, are important growth areas for Metso. New biomass conversion technologies being developed by Metso will help generate new, high value-added bio products that can be used either as fuels or as raw materials in various chemical processes.

Products that maximise the energy value of biomass and minimise the environmental impact of production and logistics will be important, and cover areas such as gasification for biogas, bio-oil production based on pyrolysis, and torrefaction, which produces bio-coal.

Among a number of new projects in these areas, Metso is currently building a sorted-waste gasification plant for Lahti Energy in Finland, which will see biofuels replace coal and reduce annual CO 2 emissions equivalent to the carbon footprint of 260,000 cars.

Work is also under way on bio-oil with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, energy utility Fortum, and forest products company UPM. As part of the project, bio-oil has been produced at Metso’s R&D pilot plant and combustion tests have taken place at Fortum’s Masala thermal power plant.

Global benefits

Metso is a global supplier of sustainable technology and services for the mining, construction, energy, recycling, and pulp and paper industries worldwide – and employs around 28,500 people in more than 50 countries.

Metso’s crushing technology, for example, enhances the efficiency of aggregates production in quarrying, while reducing exhaust emissions. Thanks to the use of mobile conveying systems, far fewer trucks are needed to transport crushed rock from the quarry face for onward processing. Metso’s track-mounted crushing plants are also able to process rock-based demolition debris for further reuse. On-site recycling eliminates the need for transporting material elsewhere for processing, and the recycled material produced can be used in applications such as road construction.

Metso technology has helped the pulp and paper industry make major strides in improving its environmental efficiency, enabling water usage per tonne of paper to be cut to less than 10 m3 today, a fraction of what it was not so many years ago. Metso systems have also enabled the amount of water used in pulp production to be reduced.

Metal recycling technology from Metso makes a valuable contribution to a better environment. Recycling metal improves materials efficiency and reduces waste production, as it takes around 70% less energy to produce steel from scrap than from iron ore and generates over 80% less emissions.

Advanced automation plays a significant role in achieving ambitious targets in these and many other industries, and here too Metso offers solutions that enable customers to run more efficient processes and minimise their use of raw materials and energy. Metso’s innovative process solutions and process automation help improve performance, boost energy and material efficiency, reduce emissions and water consumption, and enhance recycling levels.

Many of the world’s largest bio-energy power plants already rely on Metso technology, and the company has supplied over 13 GW of renewables- based power boiler capacity since 2000.

 

> Aija Kalander
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)