Biomass power boiler systems are typically below 50 MW in size, compared to coal-fired plants, which are in the 100- to 1,000-MW range. Most of today’s biomass power plants are direct-fired systems. The biomass fuel is burned in a boiler to produce high-pressure steam that is used to power a steam turbine-driven power generator. In many applications, steam is extracted from the turbine at medium pressures and temperatures and is used for process heat, space heating, or space cooling. Cofiring involves substituting biomass for a portion of the coal in an existing power plant boiler. It is the most economic near-term option for introducing new biomass power generation. Because much of the existing power plant equipment can be used without major modifications, cofiring is far less expensive than building a new biomass power plant.
Compared to the coal it replaces, biomass reduces SO2, NOX, and certain other air emissions. Biomass gasification systems operate by heating biomass in an environment where the solid biomass breaks down to form a flammable gas. The gas produced—synthesis gas, or syngas—can be cleaned, filtered, and then burned in a gas turbine in simple or combined-cycle mode, comparable to LFG or biogas produced from an anaerobic digester. In smaller systems, the syngas can be fired in reciprocating engines, microturbines, Stirling engines, or fuel cells. Gasification technologies using biomass byproducts are popular in the pulp and paper industry where they improve chemical recovery and generate process steam and electricity at higher efficiencies and with lower capital costs than conventional technologies. Pulp and paper industry byproducts that can be gasified include hogged wood, bark, and spent black liquor.
Biomass power boiler efficiency
Boiler efficiency is defined as the percentage of the fuel energy that is converted to steam energy. Major efficiency factors in biomass combustion are moisture content of the fuel, excess air introduced...