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Biomass Cogeneration

Cogeneration Asia

Cogeneration has been successfully practiced in sugar and palm oil mills for more than 50 years. In addition to that, wood industries, rice mills, paper & pulp and other industries also have considerable cogeneration potential.

As agriculture is the major activity in Asia, there are many sugar and palm oil industries. Most of these industries have cogeneration plants. The old cogeneration plants are designed purposefully with low efficiency in order to utilise all the biomass wastes produced in the mill.

In the past ten years, these industries started replacing their old cogeneration systems with modern cogeneration plants which use high pressure, multi-fuel boilers and efficient extraction condensing turbines.

These modern cogeneration plants produce almost two times the electricity produced by old plants and the excess electricity is now being exported to the grid, thus providing additional revenue.

These modern cogeneration plants produce almost two times the electricity produced by old plants and the excess electricity is now being exported to the grid, thus providing additional revenue.

In addition, these projects are eligible under CDM and until a few years back, the CER revenues provided additional income and encouraged the project owners/developers to invest.

Sugar and palm oil mill owners after visiting modern

           

cogeneration plants are getting convinced to implement projects by themselves in their own mills. For this purpose, they form a Special Purpose Company and separate their core business of sugar/palm oil production from electricity generation.

Normally 30% of the investment cost is borne by the owners of these cogeneration plants and around 70% from banks as loan. Project owners, who do not have sufficient financial strength for investing, would allow external investors to take part in the equity. Sometimes the plant totally (even 100%) owned by external investors. The mills supply fuel to the cogeneration plant and the plant will supply steam and electricity to the mill.

In Asia, sugar mills have the highest potential to implement cogeneration plants to the sizes ranging from 10-100 MW electricity generation in each mill. The potential in palm oil mills ranges from 2 to 20 MW. Paper industries also have reasonable potential to implement projects of sizes up to 50 MW. Wood and rice industries go for captive power plants or cogeneration plants depending upon their needs. We have experience in the development of cogeneration plants of sizes ranging from 2 to 41 MW.

Cogeneration Africa

The biggest challenge in the development of Africa is the consistent power supply at reasonable price for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential customers. Cogeneration is the most economical option for producing electricity and steam in sugar, palm oil, wood/timber, paper & pulp, cocoa, rice and other agro/food industries.

Most of the industries depend on diesel generators for electricity supply. The price of diesel in several parts of Africa is much higher than that of Asia. In several places, we come across diesel prices which are almost double when compared to that of Asian price level. Within the same country we have noticed 50-100% variation in diesel price.

The industries that require power and steam often use diesel generators and produce steam using inefficient biomass boilers. Very limited number of industries use biomass cogeneration plants to produce steam and electricity. Even such cogeneration plants are very old and operate with a very low efficiency.

In the next 5 to 10 years, the potential for cogeneration in African countries is very high as the biomass waste availability is expected to increase by five times or even more due to the increased cultivation of agricultural/food crops and increased productivity of existing plantations.

There is a vast potential in Africa to implement modern cogeneration plants as most of the biomass wastes are either dumped or burnt. If the cogeneration plants are designed to supply electricity to nearby industries/grid, then the revenue generation will increase considerably.

Sugar and palm oil industries have the highest potential to implement these projects and they can learn from the experience of Asian countries for implementation. The plants can be designed with multi-fuel boilers so that, several biomass fuels can be used in the boiler at the same time. In addition to this, they can use high pressure, efficient boilers and turbo-generators.

As the expected project's return is very high, it's financing is not a big issue for good projects. Also there are many project developers who are willing to develop and finance projects. The investment cost of these cogeneration plants depend on several aspects such as fuel, location, local situations, country, industry, etc. In Asia, investment cost of these power plants range from 1 to 2 Million USD per MW and it will be higher in Africa.

If the preparatory works are done properly, then the implementation time of these cogeneration plants ranges from 18 to 24 months. We have experience in the development of cogeneration plants of sizes ranging from 2 to 41 MW.

For services/queries/comments related to developing cogeneration plants, contact us.