Biomass power plant construction begins at Dutch port

By Luke Geiver | December 29, 2011

A Northern Netherlands port is now the construction site for a 50 MW woody biomass power plant set to come online in 2013.

Located at the Delfzijl port on a seven-hectare site, the plant will convert 300,000 metric tons (330,700 tons) of recycled wood waste to produce electricity for Eneco, a Dutch energy supplier that also operates wind and solar facilities throughout Western Europe. The facility has been named Eneco Bio Golden Raand, chosen by a local citizen through a program allowing citizens to participate with the project.

The facility will use a circulating fluidized bed boiler to burn biomass feedstock brought in by rail, truck and even by sea, according to Cor de Ruijter, press officer for Eneco. In addition, water taken from the adjacent North Sea will cool the steam turbine. The water cooling system will employ a sieving device to return any fish brought into the water intake system back to the sea. The system will not use any special chemicals to eradicate algae or mussel formations in the water intake system, but will instead be cleaned through a periodic rise in temperature.

Joining Eneco on the project are several European-based EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractors and technology providers, including Areva Renewables GmbH out of Germany, Ballast Nedam Infra out of the Netherlands and Metso Power of Finland. During construction, at least 350 jobs will be created. Ruijter said the EPC contract awarded by Eneco totalled €155 million ($199 million).

With all of the required permits received and the closing of all contracts, Ruijter said the project development stage is more or less finished. “Constructing the plant safely, in time and within budget is another challenge,” Ruijter said. But, by the time the facility is complete, the Eneco team believes support for biomass in the Netherlands will be even stronger than it is now. The use of waste wood sourced from within the country provides various opportunities, both in the biomass supply chain and power plant operations. Most of the biomass will come from the region, but some will be shipped in from abroad, Ruijter added.

Because of the sea water used in the cooling system and the high pressure and temperature in the steam circuit, Eneco believes the facility will have 37 percent electrical efficiency. During construction, the company plans to use silent pile driving methods and other precautionary construction efforts to keep any nuisance to a minimum. Ash from the system will be sent to a nearby construction materials maker for use in cement or other similar products.