Promoting Growth in the Use of Bioenergy in Europe by Converting Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants to Biomass
Trujillo Trujillo, Daniel Felipe (2015)
Trujillo Trujillo, Daniel Felipe
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Repowering existing power plants by replacing coal with biomass might offer an interesting option to ease the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and promote a fur-ther expansion of bioenergy in Europe, on account of the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other pollutants (SOx, NOx, etcetera). In addition, a great part of the appeal of repowering projects comes from the opportunity to reuse the vast existing invest-ment and infrastructure associated with coal-based power generation. Even so, only a limited number of experiences with repowering are found. Therefore, efforts are required to produce technical and scientific evidence to determine whether said technology might be considered feasible for its adoption within European conditions. A detailed evaluation of the technical and economic aspects of this technology constitutes a powerful tool for decision makers to define the energy future for Europe. To better illustrate this concept, a case study is analyzed. A Slovakian pulverized coal plant was used as the basis for determining the effects on perfor-mance, operation, maintenance and cost when fuel is shifted to biomass. It was found that biomass fuel properties play a crucial role in plant repowering. Furthermore, results demon-strate that this technology offers renewable energy with low pollutant emissions at the cost of reduced capacity, relatively high levelized cost of electricity and sometimes, a maintenance-intensive operation. Lastly, regardless of the fact that existing equipment can be reutilized for the most part, extensive additions/modifications may be required to ensure a safe operation and an acceptable performance.