Dalkia plans huge biomass project in Poland

By Anna Austin
Posted May 18, 2010, at 3:07 p.m. CST

Electricité de France and Veolia Environmental-owned Dalkia-a woody biomass power plant operator in France-announced it will soon engage in its largest biomass power project to date, a €70 million ($86.1 million ) retrofit of two coal-fired boilers in Poland.

The boilers are located at district cogeneration plants in Lódz and Poznan, Poland, and serve about 750,000 people. For the past two years, the plants have been burning a mixture of 10 percent biomass along with coal, producing 3 percent biomass-derived electricity. When the retrofits are complete, about 80 percent of the plants' fuel requirements will come from domestic wood transformation facilities and forest residues, according to spokesman Stephane Galfre. He said the remaining 20 percent will be of an agro origin and may include feedstocks such as straw pellets and shredded miscanthus. Dalkia currently owns 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of energy plantations in the regions of Poznan et Elblag, and plans to utilize them for feedstock sources.

Biomass will be delivered to the plants in two ways, Galfre said. About 600,000 tons of fuel will be delivered to the plants via train, and the remainder will be trucked.

Dalkia is currently negotiating project contracts, but expects construction to begin during the summer of 2011 at outage time and last about 18 months.

Poland's Ministry of Economy has set a goal of 15 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030. According to Dalkia, when complete the projects will enable Poland to meet its renewable energy goal.

The retrofits mark the second large biomass power project proposed in Poland in recent months. In April, Global power utility GDF Suez announced it had signed a contract with engineering firm Foster Wheeler for the design and construction of a circulating fluidized-bed boiler for a proposed 190-megawatt 100 percent biomass-fueled power station near Polaniec, Poland.