‘World’s largest’ CFB biomass plant enters commercial operation

A new unit at the Polish Polaniec power station, which is fired with 100 per cent biomass, is now in commercial operation, delivering over 200 MWe of electricity to the grid.

The power plant, which is located adjacent to Polaniec’s existing coal-fired units, is powered by what is described as “the world’s largest and most advanced biomass-fuelled circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boiler”, which was supplied by Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT).

The CFB boiler co-fires high-alkaline agro biomass with wood-based biomass. The former can be produced much faster and on a larger scale than the latter, thus improving the economics and sustainability of biomass power.

However, the utilisation of agro biomass is not without its challenges.

According to Jaroslaw Mlonka, president and chief executive officer of Foster Wheeler Energia Polska: “The challenge has always been to design a boiler capable of reliably firing difficult-to-burn agro biomass while at the same time increasing steam temperatures to achieve high power plant efficiency.

“This particular CFB incorporates many advanced design features that enable the Polaniec plant to achieve a net plant efficiency of over 36 per cent, based on the fuel’s lower heating value, while firing solely biomass containing up to a 20 per cent agro component.”

The Polaniec plant is owned and operated by GDF Suez.

Mlonka concluded: Our goal for this project was to provide GDF Suez with a reliable, biomass-flexible boiler that would allow the client to build a high-efficiency green power plant – and we have achieved that objective.”

Foster Wheeler provided the turnkey delivery of the boiler island and fuel yard, including design and supply of all steam generation and auxiliary equipment, civil work, erection and commissioning.

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