What is a Cogen Plant and Why Does the Concept Work Here?
We live in an area that is at high risk for catastrophic fire. For the past 10 years we have developed a project that will reduce fire danger in local forests by cleanly converting forest slash, brush and overgrowth into energy that is sold to PG&E while generating revenue generating byproducts, Biochar, Syngas, Bio-oil, and more. Our power plant will provide local living-wage jobs, investment opportunities for local residents, and generate enough electricity for 1,500 homes.
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Greenhouse Gas Emission Objectives:
- increased carbon sequestration in trees retained on the project site
- reduction of wildfire hazards to reduce wildfire emissions
- utilization of biomass to offset use of fossil fuel
- utilization of solid wood materials to offset emissions resulting from removal of vegetation.
Vegetation Treatment Objectives:
- treat understory trees and brush
- stabilize carbon in retained trees
- increase forest resilience.
Our process will convert wood into a synthetic natural gas (“syngas” or “producer gas”) through the process of gasification. This syngas is then used to fuel a specially modified natural gas genset to produce electricity and heat. In a process very similar to manufacturing charcoal, the gasification process partially combusts wood in an oxygen-starved environment. By depriving the fire of sufficient oxygen, the wood does not burn, but rather gives off a flammable gas. As the wood gives off the syngas, it is transformed into biochar. The syngas is then captured, cleaned and cooled before being sent as fuel to the genset, which converts the syngas into electricity.
Cogen powerplants fueled by biomass normally begin with a grinder. That grinder mashes up the biomass fuel which can include things like wood chips, orchard waste, forestry slosh and thinnings. The grinder processes cut ends, culled lumber, scrap and other wood waste into a consistent size. It also removes metal from the waste stream (binding straps, soda cans, etc.)
The fuel is then fed into a storage hopper by means of a belt conveyor or elevator to the top of the gasification chamber. There the fuel is dropped through an airlock into the chamber. The fuel gets dried, heated, pyrolysed, partially oxidized and reduced in this reactor as it flows through it. After the syngas has been extracted from the gasifier, it is cooled and cleaned by a series of scrubbers and filters. We will use sawdust and wood chips as filter media, so instead of using expensive synthetic filters that need to be thrown away, the used filter media are simply placed into the fuel hopper and consumed, improving efficiency, reducing cost, and virtually eliminating negative environmental impact. Once the syngas is cooled and extracted, it is then run through a standard Caterpillar generator to create electricity. This electricity is then fed to the power grid.
Project Information and Details:
Generating Clean Energy for California's
Announcing the Blue Mountain Electric Company