Biomass Power Program
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Date: 1/1/95    Record No.: 10098
Contact: Rich Bain, 303-275-2946

Biomass Power Program
- R&D: contaminant removal and characterization in thermal processes, espec. alkalis and tars; hot-gas particulate cleanup (with Westinghouse); gasification (with Batelle and IGT); systems & life cycle analysis
- Commercialization: see CCAP below
- Market Conditioning

The economics of gasification is continuing to improve (e.g., as compared with Whole Tree proposals). [note: High cost estimates in the EPRI TAG have recently been recanted.] Demonstration projects are moving to scale-up stage, with direct DOE funding.

The Climate Change Action Program (CCAP) action item 26 provides $100 million over 5 years to support cofunded demonstrations of integrated systems. Based on a 1993 RFP, 10 site-specific feasibility studies are currently underway. Though some of these studies are just beginning, the majority are nearing completion. Geographically projects range from Hawaii to Puerto Rico and from Minnesota to Florida, and costs range from $200-600K. Entities involved in these studies include Northern States Power, Niagara Mohawk, Carolina Power & Light, Weyerhauser, the State of Iowa, and others.

The CCAP program will fund cost-shared (maximum DOE share of 50%) demonstrations, some of which may be based on these feasibility studies. The RFP for these demonstrations was issued in December 1994. One requirement is that the demonstration project use a dedicated feedstock (i.e., a "crop" grown specifically for the project) thereby ensuring a closed CO2 loop. Additionally, the project must produce electricity, although co-production of ethanol (for example) would also qualify.

Gasification demos already underway include a nominal 100 ton/day bagasse plant at a sugar mill in Hawaii, and a wood gasification project sited at a 50MW wood fired plant in Vermont using Battelle's low-pressure gasifier and a gas turbine.

TVA Cofiring Study, cofunded by DOE and EPRI--NREL acted as technical monitor. Three plants were selected for test cofiring and detailed study of the wood waste supply. Dramatic NOx reductions were seen.