NTE gets patent for biomass hybrid renewable energy technology

By Lisa Gibson | May 02, 2012

NTE Energy has been awarded a patent for its proprietary biomass technology that it says will allow the simultaneous operation of a biomass energy cycle and a traditional power plant.

The technology integrates biomass and conventional steam electric generating technologies into a single hybrid renewable power generation facility, according to NTE. The addition of the hybrid technology to an existing generation facility provides substantial capital cost savings over stand-alone biomass facilities through the shared steam turbine and other common major equipment systems, according to NTE.

“Hybrid technology allows utilities to provide renewable, baseload power from a native biomass fuel that also helps to diversify the regional generation portfolio,” said Mark Daley, executive vice president of sales and marketing for NTE.  “Each facility will also create more than 120 permanent jobs, with hundreds of additional construction jobs to build each plant.”

Daley said the company is looking at two different ways to apply its system: new-build combined-cycle projects, and retrofits. “There’s a lot of combined-cycle plants that have excess capacity from the steam turbine,” he said. The company has a few new-build projects already underway in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. NTE may also license the technology to other parties, including independently owned hybrid renewable energy facilities.

The system can be used to generate heat or power, but Alan Smithe, NTE vice president of engineering, expects most applications will produce power. He added that woody biomass will most likely be the most common feedstock for the hybrid system, although the company has looked into other biomass fuels for certain projects.

“We can provide the full turnkey package,” Smithe said.

“Basically whatever the customer wants,” Daley added.