June 18, 2012, London, UK - Finnish municipal energy company Helsingin Energia could co-fire up to 40pc biomass at its two coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Helsinki, Finland, by 2020, the company said.
Helsingin Energia is currently preparing the plants to allow between 5pc and 10pc co-firing of wood pellets alongside coal, starting in 2014, as the first step of its low-carbon development programme. But a decision on how the company will proceed with the development programme will be taken in 2015.
“One solution is to continue with co-firing, meaning that the biomass shares at the Salmisaari and Hanasaari plants are increased to roughly 40pc by 2020,” production planning adviser Kiira Happonen said. “Another option is to build a new multi-fuel CHP plant.”
The planned plant — which would replace the company's 228MW Hanasaari plant and be of a similar capacity — would consume up to 80pc biomass with the rest being coal, Happonen said. The plant could be operational by the early 2020s. The company's 160MW Salmisaari plant would continue as a co-fired plant.
Biomass feedstock is likely to be sourced from within Finland and from abroad, according to Happonen. Co-firing feedstocks would most likely be wood pellets, but could also include torrified pellets. The proposed multi-fuel plant could take a wide variety of biomass, including forest residue, wood chips, pellets and torrefied biomass.
“Over 90pc of the city of Helsinki is district-heated,” Happonen said. “All of the plants in question are CHP plants and the produced heat (300MW at Salmisaari, 420MW at Hanasaari) is utilised as district heat.”
Helsingin Energia aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20pc from 1990 levels, and increase its share of renewables in energy production to 20pc by 2020. In addition to its biomass plans, the company will also contribute wind and hydro energy to this target, and may co-fire bio-based synthetic natural gas at its two existing Vuosaari gas-fired CHP plants, totalling 630MW.
The Finnish government is currently considering support schemes for replacing coal with biomass-derived fuels, while a support scheme for using forest chips in CHP plants is already in place, according to Happonen.
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