Canadian Biomass Magazine

German SWU’s pilot biomass plant delayed

August 15, 2012
By Argus Media

August 15, 2012, London, UK — Technical difficulties are delaying the start-up of local utility SWU's pilot biomass plant in Ulm, Germany.

The combined heat and power (CHP) plant will be operational in 2013 instead of 2012, as the commissioning phase has taken longer than expected, the company said.

The plant, which will have a capacity of 6.4MW of heat and 4.96MW of electricity, will be the first facility to use a new wood gasification technology on an industrial scale. It will carbonise rather than burn wood under high temperatures, producing gases to power two electricity generators.

“We need to be more patient,” the company said. “The new technology of wood gasification is working very well but making it fit with more traditional components, such as the evaporator and the heat exchanger, proves difficult,” SWU said.

The €33mn ($41mn) plant, which received a €6.6mn subsidy from the German agricultural ministry as a pilot project, is still undergoing commissioning and testing.

The power plant will consume 45,000 t/yr of regionally sourced wood chips and supply electricity for around 10,000 households. The heat will be fed into the district heating system.

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