Denmark firm to build biomass power plants in Italy

By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted August 15, 2008 at 10:29 a.m. CST

Denmark-based Babcock & Wilcox V°lund A/S recently announced it has reached an agreement with Italy-based Advanced Renewable Energy Ltd. to supply up to 25 small biomass plants over the next 10 years. The agreement is valued at up to $156 million.

Babcock & Wilcox is a subsidiary of Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., a designer and manufacturer of steam generating and environmental equipment. The company plans to construct all of the plants in Italy, utilizing the company's combined cycle gasification technology.

Each 4-megawatt plant will use locally-obtained waste wood chips from Italy's expanding forest products industry to power the plant's electric generators. The plants will also employ a heat recovery system to produce additional steam to run the generators. Babcock & Wilcox estimates that the total electrical efficiency in the plants will be at 45 percent, nearly double the efficiency of other biomass plants operating throughout Europe.

Assuming each plant operates 8,000 hours per year, each plant will consume 28,800 tons of feedstock annually, said Ryan Cornell, spokesman for Babcock & Wilcox.

Babcock & Wilcox anticipates orders for the first six plants later this year, with the first plant expected to be commercially operating in 2010. Cornell said the cost of construction for each plant will vary, depending on the geography and municipality of each site. The plants constructed under this agreement are the first of their kind for Babcock & Wilcox, but will be based on a gasification plant the company designed in Harbo°re, Denmark. The Harbo°re plant, which was commissioned in 1996, supplies heat for the municipality.