Steam powers new source of revenue at Daventry biomass plant

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

The conversion of a biomass site near Daventry, Northamptonshire, is expected to generate up to £1 million of additional revenue after the installation of a process that is said to maximise returns for the investors.

The Pedigree Power recycling site, operated by Silvertree and developed by Larch Group, is converting up to 25,000 tonnes of waste wood per annum into a green source of power. After fitting a Heliex GenSet, it is now reportedly turning the steam produced in its steam-raising biomass boiler into electricity and providing heat to its 30,000-tonnes wastewater processing plant.

The electricity produced is used to operate the plant, with the surplus being sold to the National Grid. The Heliex system is also expected to allow Pedigree Power to benefit from enhanced renewable heat incentives (RHI) and contract for difference (CfD) payments.

Generating up to 0.7 megawatts of electricity each day, depending on the amount of wood burned, Heliex Power’s 580 kWe system will be twinned with one of its 103 kWe machines at the facility. The former is said to be the largest system the company has sold to date, with the combination of the two machines providing investors with a quick return on capital invested.

Tony Wehby, director at Larch Group, said: “Using the Heliex system is another step forward, as we increasingly look to renewables as the principle source of energy at our facilities. Too much wood waste is still destined for the landfill – that’s something we’re keen to eradicate, as we move towards a more sustainable future.

“Converting as much of this waste as possible into energy is the best possible solution, moving away from carbon technologies towards a more circular economy. The Heliex system is a core part of our facility and was the obvious choice compared to other potential technologies – it is cost effective, as well as being UK-supplied and supported.”

To install a Heliex system, biomass operators have to purchase a steam-raising boiler – they can then generate electricity using the Heliex GenSet, in addition to heat from their boiler. The combined heat and power (CHP) system, while requiring more up-front investment, is reported to typically deliver much higher returns and can pay itself back in as little as one year through increased RHI payments and the sale of excess electricity. Of Heliex’s 48 units currently in the field, 28 are used in biomass applications in the UK and across Europe.

Until recently, it was thought to be impossible to harness the power of wet steam – the type of vapour you can see emanating from a boiled kettle. After years of researching the problem, Heliex Power, in conjunction with researchers from City University, London, say they have developed a commercially-viable method of turning the ubiquitous source of energy into electricity.

Chris Armitage, chief executive of Heliex Power, added: “This is the largest system we have sold to date, testament to the fact that more businesses and sectors are realising the potential of innovative technologies for CHP.

“Our technology is still a very new proposition for many industries, but the benefits it brings in terms of additional revenue, reduced energy consumption, and enhanced sustainability are immense. A range of industries, from glass, steel, and paper production, through to waste incineration, distilling, and agriculture are already realising its potential – and there’s much more to come.”

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