Biomass testing facility to host public tour

By Luke Geiver | December 30, 2011

For two days in February, Alternative Energy Solutions International Inc. (AESI) will open the doors to its Kansas Biomass Research Institute (BRI), providing tours of a fully functional biomass power and testing facility.

The open house event, slated for Feb 1-2, is open to the public and free of charge, and will also feature presentations and discussions on emissions controls, combined-heat-and-power (CHP) applications, fuel handling and storage techniques, permitting requirements, and measures for overcoming fuel challenges. Even though biomass power plants offer exceptional investment returns, they are expensive, and fuel validation improves design efficiency, reduces project risk, and increases project value far exceeding the small cost, according to AESI.

During the event, attendees will see the protocols the BRI facility has developed to test biomass feedstocks ranging from wood chips to agricultural residue. The facility uses a Uniconfort gasification unit that has outputs of hot water at 203 degrees Fahrenheit, saturated steam up to 300 pounds per square inch, and superheated water up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The unit also features an automatic ash extraction unit, moving grate and a central programmable logic controller (PLC) panel to allow automation of fuel feeding, ash extraction, combustion modulation, and the soot blower. The unit can run and test feedstocks with high moisture content—up to 120 percent dry basis—and fuels sized up to 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and 2 inches high. The moving grate is made of stainless steel and is cooled by water.

When a fuel is tested in the gasification unit, the BRI team records data for several feedstock characteristics: traditional calorific and constituent content, requisite material handling, fuel manipulation, grinding, briquetting, drying, fuel behavior under gasification, and air emissions. The fuel undergoes testing for three days and the data from the test burn allows AESI to offer performance guarantees, according to the company.

Typical fuel validation studies require purchasing expensive equipment, sometimes adding little value to the unfinished project, according to the company. The BRI enables AESI to proof its customers’ opportunity fuels and establish performance based on real-time fuel data before they buy the equipment.  

Along with tours and information from BRI staff, the open house will include presenters from the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), Trinity Consultants, Uniconfort, Duske Drying Systems and Carrier. For registration information, click here