Biomass site uses innovative steam method for extra power

The conversion of a biomass site near Daventry, Northamptonshire, into a state-of-the-art facility is expected to generate up to £1m of additional revenue, after the installation of a unique process that maximises 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 turning the steam produced in its steam-raising biomass boiler into electricity and providing heat to its 30,000-tonnes wastewater processing plant.

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, however after years of researching the problem, Heliex Power, in conjunction with researchers from City University, London, have developed a commercially-viable method of turning the ubiquitous source of energy into electricity.

The electricity produced is used to operate the plant, with the surplus being sold to the National Grid. The Heliex system will also 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 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, believes using the Heliex system is another step forward, as the company increasingly look to renewables as the principle source of energy at its 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,” he said.

“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.”

Chris Armitage, Chief Executive of Heliex Power, added: “Biomass plant operators across the UK have identified our technology as a simple way of maximising returns and boosting sustainability even further, by generating a low-cost supply of electricity in addition to the heat supplied by their boiler.

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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