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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is the world moving towards biomass fueled CHP plants?

E71_July8_Sotkamo_2009_bioenergiaa_039 HISTORY | As the world makes moves towards biofuels (= biomass fuels in this context), the source of the biological material is going to become important.

The European Commission has published a green paper called "A European Strategy for Secure, Competitive and Sustainable Energy for Europe", which, in the view of the European Renewable Energy Industry is a missed opportunity for showing the way forward in Europe's energy policy and strategy.

I did write these sentences several years ago. What has changed since 2007?

  • PRODUCT | Biomass fueled CHP is a proven concept; the 1 – 20 MW plant sizes for Europe and BRIC countries are however new and the sales and implementation is facing more barriers and uncertainties compared to Scandinavian countries where wood based bioenergy units have a long history.
  • PRICE | The initial CHP investment is higher but ROI over lifetime should support the decision. The acceptance of a higher initial investment price demands strategic decision making and local political wisdom has to be a part of the decision making process.
  • PROMOTION | Biomass fueled CHPs 1 – 20 MW as valuable community / district level investments are not well known outside the Scandinavian markets. Much more grassroots and local b2b promotion is needed to advance the Public-Private-Community-District partnership.
  • PLACE | Location, location, location is everything. A CHP (cogeneration heat and power) should be installed in a location where the Public-Private-Community-District initiative has the logistical, operational and supply chain actors participating. To succeed, a multidisciplinary local action group has to be arranged by someone who wants to lead the operation from start to finish. Such a team was in place when the Autun, France, BioGrate 10 MW project proceeded from idea to completion.
  • POLITICS | The City / Community level decision makers have to be a natural part of the planning process and a project team. A CHP plant want be a strictly Business-to-Business sales and implementation project. A successful project requires long term cooperation of several parties. If the networking infrastructure isn’t in place, there will not be a successful project.
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