RWE plant converts fifth unit to biomass

By Erin Voegele | October 30, 2020

The Port of Rotterdam on Oct. 28 announced that RWE’s Amercentrale power plant will soon be fueled with 80 percent biomass. The facility is working to convert the fifth of its six turbines from firing coal to firing wood pellets.

Upgrades being made at the facility include a closed conveyor system to transport the pellets from barges to the turbines and the installation of a large-scale fan. The company said the adaptations are being made while the rest of the plant remains fully operational.

Wood pellets being used to fuel the plant are sourced from responsible forestry operations in the Baltic states and North America, according to information released by the Port of Rotterdam. Starting next year, the facility is expected to purchase 1.5 million metric tons of pellets annually.

According to the port, most of the storage and handling of pellets for the Amercentrale facility is handled by ZHD Stevedores. Dico Regoord, commercial manager at ZHD, said approximately 75 percent of the pellets delivered to the plant are transferred to inland vessels via ship-to-ship handling at various buoys in Rotterdam.

The power station’s sixth turbine will continue to fire coal and serve as a back-up source of power in the event one of the biomass-fired turbines is down.

According to RWE, the Amercentrale facility was commissioned in 1993. It is located in Geertruidenberg, the Netherlands, near the Port of Rotterdam. The facility has a 600 megawatt (MW) electrical capacity and can produce 350 MW of district heat.

Additional information is available on the Port of Rotterdam website