Company to build cogeneration facility in California

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Dec. 5, 2008 at 10:05 a.m. CST

Virtual Media Holdings Inc. announced Dec. 2 that the company's biomass cogeneration power system has been approved by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is the pollution control agency for Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as well as Los Angeles. In September, Virtual Media Holdings announced it had acquired Biomass Secure Power Inc., a company that develops co-generation biomass fueled power plants.

According to a statement released by Virtual Media Holdings, discussions between the company and the South Coast Air Quality Management District also included a program to remove underbrush in California wild fire prone areas. The underbrush would be processed and used as fuel to power a biomass facility in southern California.

Jim Carroll, Biomass Secure Power's chief executive officer, said details of the California co-generation facility will not be released until the project is finalized, which he estimated will be in March 2009.

"It's been approved for us to build a biomass cogeneration system [in California], and we'll be proceeding with it in the spring," Carroll said. In addition to underbrush, the facility is expected to utilize other feedstocks. However, Carroll was unable to disclose specific details on the feedstocks at this time.

According to Carroll, the company's technology involves preparing the biomass material into a very fine dust, which is combusted in a way similar to how No. 3 fuel oil is burned. The fuel fires a boiler, which creates steam that powers turbines and generates electricity. The biomass fuel produces higher British Thermal Units and drastically reduces the ash that is produced, Carroll added.