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Ian Tubby Bioenergy Supply Chain
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Ian Tubby Bioenergy Supply Chain


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2008 West Midlands Bioenergy Conference …

2008 West Midlands Bioenergy Conference
Harper Adams University College

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Biomass Energy Centre Opportunities for land managers to enter the bioenergy supply chain West Midlands Bioenergy Conference December 2008
  • 2. Aim of the presentation • Give an overview of biomass fuel types • Describe the basics of the biomass market • Brief description of perennial energy Crops • Brief description of anaerobic digestion • Give details of where to get further information
  • 3. Biomass as a fuel • Logs and wood chips from woodlands • Miscanthus and SRC • Sawdust and off cuts from wood processing • Dry agricultural residues - straw • Food wastes, slurries • Oil seed crops and cereals for liquid biofuel production
  • 4. How is biomass being used? • Most common application is heat production using woodchips, logs or pellets • Typical scale is between 100 - 1000kW (around 2000 installations at present) • Generally a single boiler in a single building • Growing interest and application of ‘district heating’ systems • Industrial scale co-firing and ‘biomass only’ power generation (~6 biomass only power stations in operation, ~12 planned)
  • 5. Forestry Commission’s Strategy • 2 million tonnes of woodfuel from privately owned, undermanged woodland • Equivalent to 250,000 homes worth of energy
  • 6. How can I supply this market? • Use thinnings, poor quality trees • Allow to dry ‘in the round’ • Chip using a woodfuel grade chipper • Keep chips dry - make sure they match boiler specification and follow industry standards
  • 7. Drying round wood prior to chipping
  • 8. Producing good quality chips • Use a woodfuel grade chipper - inconsistent chip size can block augers • Moisture content is critical • CEN standards developed for use across Europe • Chippers are expensive - consider hiring in unless you have large quantities to process
  • 9. Is woodchip competitive with other fuels? • Market price varies considerably £50 - £90 per tonne delivered typical • Price of oil ~4.0p per kWh (@ 40p per litre) • Gas price currently around ~ 4.0p per kWh • 1 tonne of 30% MC woodchips contains 3500 kWh of energy • Paying anything less than £120 per tonne of chips is competitive with oil and gas at today’s prices
  • 10. cost per tonne sy st 0 20 40 60 80 100 em 1 sy st em 2 sy st em 3 sy st em 4 sy st em 5 sy st em 6 sy st em 7 sy st em 8 sy st em 9 sy st em 10 sy Variations in the cost of producing woodchips st em 11 sy st Wood chip production costs em 12
  • 11. Adding value - selling heat • ‘Energy Supply Company’ (ESCo) • Attractive to end users - they do not have to worry about sourcing fuel • User billed according to kWh of heat used - recorded by a ‘heat meter’ • Watch out for ‘heat incentive’ - being developed now.
  • 12. Capital cost • Biomass systems often much more expensive than fossil fuel counterparts • DECC ‘bioenergy capital grant’ • Aimed at ‘industrial and community sectors that are considering investing in biomass-fuelled heat and/or combined heat and power projects, including anaerobic digestion’ • Covers ‘up to 40% of the difference in the cost of installing biomass…..compared to fossil fuel alternative’. Max single award £500k •
  • 13. Energy Crops • Generally refers to willow short rotation coppice and Miscanthus • Energy Crop Scheme grant available via Natural England - 40% of establishment cost • Generally associated with larger scale power plants (E.ON at Lockerbie, SembCorp in the North East, Eccleshall West Mids) or co-firing • Some examples of small scale heat in the region (Lionel Hill) • Economics investigated by NNFCC
  • 14. Short Rotation Coppice • Plant spring year 1 • Cutback winter year 1-2 • Harvest every 3 years • Yields 8 odt per ha per year • Needs specialised harvester and planter
  • 15. Miscanthus • Plant spring year 1 • 1st harvest winter year 2 -3 • Annual harvest there after (usually baled) • Yields ~ 10 odt ha yr from year 3 • Similar to a conventional agricultural crop • Eccleshall in W. Midlands
  • 16. Anaerobic digestion • Uses animal slurries, food waste, sewage sludge, maize or grass silage to generate ‘Biogas’ (methane and carbon dioxide) • Gas powers combustion engine, end products are power and heat • Could earn tradeable ‘renewable energy certificates’ • Digestate could be used as a soil conditioner - properties dependant on feedstock
  • 17. In conclusion • Biomass is an established fuel and is here to stay • Can be economically viable • Matching fuel quality to the end market is paramount • Can use existing resources or dedicated crops
  • 18. Sources of information • Biomass Energy Centre • Forestry Commission • Heartwoods • Marches wood energy network • Bioenergy West Midlands • West midlands woodland & forestry forum • National Non Food Crop Centre