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Eon biomass switch needs 1.6 million t/yr pellets

December 12, 2012, London, UK - German utility Eon is progressing with plans to fully convert its 460MW Langerlo coal-fired power plant in Belgium to a 400MW wood pellet-fuelled biomass plant.


December 12, 2012
By Argus Media

Plans for the conversion received a boost last month when Eon
received an environmental permit. The utility is lobbying the regional
Flemish government to ensure appropriate policy for coal-to-biomass
conversions are put in place.

One reason for the conversion is that the coal-fired plant's
environmental permit will expire in 2016, Eon said. In addition, the
utility's medium to long-term view of coal-fired generation economics is
negative. The move to biomass makes sense because the conversion
requires only limited capital expenditure, reduces CO2 emissions by
80-85pc, helps address a supply security challenge and is the cheapest
option to meet the EU's 2020 renewable energy target.

“We recently received the environmental permit but we are still in
discussions with the Flemish government on the policy and framework,”
Eon said. “They are still in the process of preparing proposals on how
biomass and conversions will be subsidised but we are looking for
consistency from government on policy and guarantees on the subsidy for
the next 10 years.”

The plant has two 220MW units but after the conversion it will have
two 200MW units fuelled entirely by wood pellets. The plant will require
1.6mn t/yr of pellets based on an energy content of 16 gigjoules/t.
About 60pc of the pellets will be sourced from North America, 30pc from
Europe and 10pc from the Benelux region, Germany and France.

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Large vessels will unload cargoes at Antwerp port and smaller
shipments will be sent by canal and discharged at the Genk barge
terminal.

“Start-up depends on negotiations with the government but the final
investment decision will be taken in the third or fourth quarter of
2013. It then takes 18 months to convert and retrofit the plant so it
would be operational in 2015.”

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