Meva Energy and its partners including the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and a leading international furniture manufacturer are set to celebrate the first anniversary of the establishment of the Local Residue Energy (Loreen) project.
Set up in 2016, Loreen’s project management team has now secured €2.9 million of investment from InnoEnergy, the European engine for sustainable energy innovation.
The project’s goal is to develop a cost-effective cogeneration plant fuelled by the gasification of unprocessed, dry biomass residues from agriculture and wood-based manufacturing.
The gasification process enables Meva Energy to build cogeneration plants that will be suitable for a wide variety of industrial applications, and small enough for de-central closed-loop energy systems that ensure minimal energy losses from transportation and distribution.
The proposed cogeneration power plant is an end-to-end solution that comprises a feedstock management system, an entrained flow-gasification reactor, and systems for cooling and cleaning the resultant gas. That gas is then injected into a gas engine which produces power via a generator.
The initial feasibility studies showed that Meva Energy’s gasification processes will be able to produce heat and power in the range below the commercial viability of existing steam-turbine technology – typically less than 10MWe.
This will enable smaller-scale installations that can be deployed in a variety of scenarios, including district-heating models and closed-loop systems for manufacturers.
“For us, Meva Energy’s technology and this project are an ideal illustration of what can be achieved through collaborative innovation and market focus,” says Dr. Roland Doll, Leader of the Energy from Chemical Fuels Thematic Field at InnoEnergy.
“It taps into a number of key sustainability trends. First, by cogenerating heat and power, it challenges heat-only biomass boilers. Secondly, it uses previously unfeasible, low-cost biomass like sawdust, grains and husks, enabling better use of primary energy in the feed-stock and creating a more economic, cost-efficient model for combined heat and power (CHP).
“Thirdly, as a closed-loop system, in which manufacturers and farmers use their own waste product to fuel processes, it is an example of the circular economy in action.
“And finally, it can play an essential role in the move towards more distributed energy resources where the focus is on more efficient, localised production and consumption. This could be the solution that really expands the possibilities for cogeneration and for biomass.”
Meva Energy, one of the world’s leading providers of gasification technology for renewable energy production, has a pipeline of potential customers in a number of sectors, including tissue production, flooring manufacture, food production, and commercial district heating.
The company has also spoken extensively with delegations from South-East Asia, where the technology can deliver heat and power from rice husks to smaller communities, leap-frogging the often-inadequate legacy power infrastructure.
“A number of companies have shown an interest in the technology,” says Niclas Davidsson, CEO of Meva Energy and Loreen’s project director. “Many have ambitious sustainability programmes and, having picked the low-hanging fruit like converting fleet vehicles or monitoring energy consumption, they are now ready to take the next step.
“Our studies show that payback for our technology is in the region of four to eight years, which is a remarkably short time for industrial-scale renewable power generation.”
He continues, “This is why the investment from InnoEnergy is so important to us. With private VCs more focused on the digital sector, there’s a great need for investors like InnoEnergy in clean tech and related fields.
“In addition to the financial injection, the InnoEnergy team which is specialised in the energy sector has given us extensive levels of support and expertise. They have proactively suggested meetings and events in which we could participate. They have a network of invaluable contacts we can plug into. But most of all, they understand the energy markets and take the long view that this sector demands. Our future looks very bright indeed.”