Innovative Energy taking its gasification technology commercial

By Rona Johnson | March 29, 2011

Innovative Energy Inc. is fulfilling its mission to provide eco-friendly, economic ways to generate electricity by developing and commercializing a distributed power generation system.

The company based in Fenton, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, can gasify any carbon-based fuel, including wood, municipal solid waste, ag residue, energy crops, plastics, tires, shingles and paper. “Our system uses an updraft pressurized gasification system that milks, so to speak, the energy out of the fuel,” said Jim Neumeier, vice president of business development for Innovative Energy. “Then through filtering and cleaning we create a very clean syngas that is equivalent to natural gas.” The syngas is funneled into modified gensets, which are normally fuelled by diesel fuel or natural gas, and energy is produced.

Because it is a distributed energy system it doesn’t require transmission lines like wind, coal and hydro power to get the power from where it’s produced to where it will be used, Neumeier said. The system is modular and scalable with each unit producing 2 megawatts (MW). And it has a small footprint. “Our 2 MW footprint building block takes up about 3,000 square feet and a 20-MW site would take up the square footage equal to that of a football field,” he said. “In comparison, a 2-MW solar array would take up about 13 acres.”

The 2-MW units run independently of each other, ensuring the reliability of the power that’s produced, he added.

Innovative Energy was founded in 2001 and has 27 worldwide patents, Neumeier said. The privately funded company completed its research and development phase at the end of 2009 and since 2010 has been marketing its technology, concentrating on five sectors: municipalities, military, international, commercial and industrial facilities that have waste streams. “We truly represent a commercial proven validated technology,” he said.

Innovative Energy is one of three destinations during the 2011 International Biomass Conference & Expo industry tour. The event is being held May 2-5 in St. Louis.

Neumeier said tour participants will be able to observe every aspect of the operation, including fuel handling, gasifier, control systems, ash and slag handling systems, gas cooling and filtration systems and the generators.

The Anheuser-Busch Bio-Energy Recovery System, which uses an anaerobic digester to capture energy from its wastewater streams, is another tour stop. The methane that’s produced is utilized for process heat in the plant. The system handles more than 5 million gallons of wastewater a day and reduced the facilities organic waste by more than 80 percent.

The third tour destination is the IESI MO Champ Landfill, which is a 254-acre nonhazardous sold waste landfill that takes in about 3,500 tons of refuse daily. The landfill gas generated by the refuse is recovered and provides renewable electricity for two asphalt plants, a commercial greenhouse, a concrete facility and a local high school. The landfill has plans to expand its operations in 2012 to include a landfill gas- to-electricity plant that will capture enough gas to generate 12 MW of power.

For more information about BBI International’s International Biomass Conference & Expo, go to