DNC Energy to build biomass plant in Ukraine

By DNC Energy | June 10, 2015

DNC Energy, an environmental firm focused on building renewable energy infrastructure, recently announced that it plans to construct a waste wood and crop residue fired biomass electric generation plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region. The 25 MW facility is the 13th biomass plant to be built in the Ukraine, which currently has six burning biomass plants and seven biogas anaerobic digester systems.

The project includes construction and equipping of the plant, which will run primarily on woodchips, cornstover, sunflower and wheat straw to produce and realize energy via direct combustion in a steam boiler where the obtained steam passes through a steam turbine to receive energy. The technology will feature a "Wellons" boiler that runs on biofuel—a Siemens steam turbine. Gross power delivery is estimated at 25 megawatts and construction is targeted for completion by November 2016. DNC has selected and is formalizing purchase of eight sites for future expansion and plans to expand to over 200 megawatts' generation by 2020. These sites are strategically located and take into consideration fuel supply sustainability, cooling water and grid connection. An added benefit of the decentralized power supply will be grid stability and reduction of power outages. Local governments have been proactive and highly supportive of this venture.

"Our new facility is a unique source of renewable energy in Ukraine and we anticipate that this landmark project will add substantially to the local economy, support sustainable waste management practices and improve the health of the local environment," said DNC Energy President David Neisingh. "The rising cost of energy makes it crucial to produce electricity from alternative sources and is also an important factor in our project's implementation."

In order to reduce dependence on energy producing countries, Western European countries are actively funding projects to develop alternative energy sources and biofuels. Unfortunately, the current financial situation in Ukraine does not allow it to invest large amounts of state funds in this sector. It has, however, created favorable conditions for the realization of high efficiency investment projects and the development of energy production from renewable sources by providing tax and customs exemptions known as the "green" tariff." Electricity produced by DNC Energy's new power station will be sold using the green tariff, a law that was introduced in 2009 to stimulate investment into the power sector since most of Ukraine's current generation facilities are 50-60 years old, well past their useful service life, and must be replaced.

More recently, Ukraine and the international community have made Ukraine's energy and financial independence from Russia'simported coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel a top strategic priority. For this reason, Parliament just passed an amendment that President Poroshenko is expected to sign into law by in the coming days. Amendment 2010 sets the tariff at the equivalent of 18 cents per kw sold to the national grid and also allows for the use of biomass from energy crops. Additionally, it amends a previous requirement for 50 percent local content of power plant equipment and is now based on a formula for obtaining up to a 15 percent increase in tariff by having local content. With this bonus, the rate is 20.7 cents and this rate is indexed in Euros and secure against devaluation of the Hrivna. Additionally, the national power company is required to buy all power produced.

"Lighting the world with green biomass power is a natural solution for energy independence. Clean renewable biomass power is carbon neutral and capable of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving forest health, and reducing the risk of forest fires. In rural communities around the world biomass energy generates electricity and creates jobs. I've been in business In Ukraine for 21 years now and want to do my part to help bring Ukraine to full independence with European integration, energy security, investment, and technical integration. This is crucial for the Ukrainian people," said Neisingh.  

In terms of project sustainability, Ukraine is the sixth largest grain exporting country in the world with over 32 million hectares of prime farmland. Ukraine is commonly referred to as the breadbasket of Europe because it produces 90-100mt of grain and is estimated to have nearly 70 million metric tons of straw available for energy conversion, which is more than enough to fuel more than 8,000 megawatts of additional capacity. In fact, there is enough biomass available within a 50km radius to supply three 25-megawatt generation plants. Resultant ash is a very valuable organic fertilizer that sequesters carbon and balances soil pH, adding phosphor, potassium and other minerals back into the soil. Local farmers are enthusiastic about the option of trading crop residues for resultant fertilizer.