Small Scale Biomass-Fired CHP System

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

The project aims to develop a novel, first-of-its-kind 10 kWe biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system suitable for public and large domestic buildings' application. The specific objectives of the project are:(1) To prove that the concept of power generation through biomass combustion combined with an organic Rankine turbine cycle is suitable for biomass-fuelled CHP systems as small as 10 kWe;(2) To design, construct and evaluate the first-of-its-kind 10 kWe biomass-fired CHP system;(3) To develop a computer model for the proposed 10 kWe biomass-fired CHP system.Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the on-site generation of electricity and the utilisation of the heat that is a by-product of the generation process. For a wide range of public and large domestic buildings, CHP can offer an economical method of providing heat and power which is less environmentally harmful than conventional methods (e.g. heat supplied by a gas boiler and electricity supplied by the grid). However, almost all of the CHP systems on the market are fuelled by fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and oil. To further reduce greenhouse emissions resulted from the energy use in public and large domestic buildings, CHP systems based on renewable fuels, such as biomass, have to be used. Generating electricity from biomass based on combustion combined with a steam Rankine turbine cycle is the most developed technology at the present time. However, the steam-driven Rankine turbine power generation is not suitable for biomass generators or CHP systems smaller than 100 kWe because of its inherent low electricity generation efficiency and high capital costs. Biomass generators or CHP systems suitable for use in public and large domestic buildings (in the order of 10 kWe) are not available anywhere in the world. To meet the expected increasing market demand from the sector of public and large domestic buildings, a new biomass-fuelled CHP system (ca. 10kWe) has to be developed as a matter of urgency. The new 10kWe-rated biomass-fuelled system has to be developed with a new concept of power generation which ensures the CHP system to be safe, reliable, of high efficiency and of low capital costs. The CHP system proposed in this collaborative project has the following innovative features:(1) It will be the first-of-its kind;(2) It uses biomass combustion combined with an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) to generate electricity. It will be the first time that the ORC-based power generation is applied to a biomass-fuelled CHP system as small as 10 kWe.(3) The biomass boiler and the organic Rankine turbine cycle are coupled via a thermal oil heating cycle instead of a water/steam heating cycle. (4) A novel, economical ORC turbine is used with the proposed CHP system. The ORC turbine is to be modified from a cheap, bought off the shelf, refrigerant compressor. The preliminary tests on the 2kWe-rated unit have indicated that this new type of ORC turbine is not only more economical but also more efficient and more reliable than those used in the previous studies.(5) Only environment-friendly working fluids will be considered in the ORC process.The proposed project is likely to indicate a viable, commercially exploitable product and this will directly benefit the applicants and their partners of the project who will exploit the outcomes of the proposed research in collaboration with the applicants' institutions in Europe. The proposed research will also benefit academia, and several industrial sectors including biomass technology and turbine technology. It will have a direct impact on the development of small-scale biomass heating and CHP systems and small-scale ORC-turbines. The long term benefits of the project include more sustainable CHP generation for the sector of public and large domestic buildings and protection of the global environment.
 
Description Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council 
Organisation Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Nottinghamshire County Council 
Organisation Nottinghamshire County Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Society for engines and power plant 
Organisation Society for Engines and Power Plant
Country Germany 
Sector Learned Society 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Strawsons Energy 
Organisation Strawsons Energy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Univ GH Essen 
Organisation University Duisburg-Essen
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2007