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Biomass generator uses automotive technology to deliver better performance

Michelle Ward
21st September 2010
A new biomass generator has incorporated automotive technology to provide businesses with the opportunity to convert waste wood into thermal and electric power without interruption, according to its makers.
Developed by Staffordshire-based biomass energy company Talbotts, the BG25 is a combined heat and power (CHP) generator, which supplies 25 kilowatts of carbon neutral electric power and 50 kilowatts of carbon neutral heat.

The innovative technology has been created in conjunction with Harper Adams University College and uses automotive technology more likely to be found in a Scania trucks to ensure consistent, reliable operation on a self-sustaining generation cycle. Talbotts said it was highly efficient and had applications in a variety of businesses, including the wood working industry, hotels and modest industrial complexes.

"We’re especially targeting the wood working industry to help it utilise its waste," said Talbotts’ managing director Paul Firth. "We want to help factories burn their waste and this generator will keep going and going, because it’s straight off the truck."

How the technology works
The BG25 CHP generator burns waste wood, in the form of pellets, in a stepped moving grate combustor and gases are passed into an air-to-air heat exchanger (HEX).

A series of baffles within the HEX's 'cassettes' directs gas flow through a mile and a half of piping, inside of which is compressed air from the turbocharger.

Combustion gases are still hot and this energy is extracted as hot water by passing the gases through a boiler, where they are drawn through the system by an induction fan.

Much of the heat energy created is cycled back through the compressor to charge incoming air and continue to drive the turbocharger. Excess energy is captured by a second turbocharger that drives two alternators through a gearbox.

The turbocharger, which is most frequently found on Scania trucks, is used in the generation process to convert energy released by the combustion of the biomass fuel into thermal and electrical power.

This self-contained system promises savings of 212 tonnes of CO2 per annum and provides a source of electricity and local heating to the location receiving power.

Value for businesses
The generator unit is highly durable, according to Talbotts and has a life span of 10-15 years. The unit can run for long periods of time without significant servicing and repairs are easy to make.

"Other biomass technology is complicated, and you need an engineer," said Firth. "But our technology is simple. In theory, just about anyone can maintain the machine."

Firth said the units will be competitively priced and reasonable for businesses and communities seeking a reliable source of green power. The return on investment will vary, but Firth said he expects businesses to see pay back in 2-4 years.

In addition to providing a sustainable source of electricity and heat, the technology may also qualify businesses for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and Feed-in Tariffs (FITs).

Talbotts will launch the biomass generator on the market early next month.

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Biomass generator uses automotive technology to deliver better performance
Talbotts BG25 biomass CHP generator claims to be more efficient and reliable than other biomass technology because of automotive technology
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