Nexterra, UBC and GE Open North America’s First Renewable Biomass CHP System.
Nexterra Systems Corp, the University of British Columbia and GE today celebrated the successful completion of an energy-from-renewable-waste combined heat and power (CHP) system located at UBC’s Vancouver campus. This is North America’s first commercial demonstration of a transformative system that combines Nexterra’s gasification and syngas conditioning technologies with one of GE’s high-efficient Jenbacher internal combustion engines.
GE’s Jenbacher gas engine will produce 2 MW (megawatts) of clean, renewable electricity that will offset UBC’s existing power consumption, enough to power approximately 1,500 homes. The Nexterra system will also generate 3 MW of thermal energy, enough steam to displace up to 12 percent of UBC’s natural gas consumption. This will reduce UBC’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 5,000 tonnes per year which is the equivalent of taking more than 1,000 cars off the road.
The successful start-up of the project at UBC – officially named the “Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF)” – represents an important milestone in Nexterra’s quest to reliably convert low-value waste feedstocks into higher value renewable fuels and chemicals. The system has completed a comprehensive testing program for reliability, capacity and emissions, and has successfully connected to the grid.
Using Nexterra’s proven gasification technology platform and innovative gas clean-up and thermal cracking solution, the system converts locally-sourced waste wood into a clean, reliable gas that is suitable for use in a high-efficiency, industrial-scale gas engine to produce heat and power. The system will deliver global electrical efficiencies that are 25 percent higher than traditional methods for producing biomass-based electricity at this scale.
The start-up of the system represents the culmination of more than four years of product development work and collaboration with GE’s Gas Engines business. Prior to installing the gas engine at UBC, Nexterra successfully completed more than 5,000 hours of trials at its Product Development Center in Kamloops BC.
Designed by McFarland Marceau Architects, UBC’s CHP bioenergy system is housed in a remarkable building that was constructed using cross-laminate timber (CLT), a new solid wood building material that can be used as a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel frame construction. This will be one of the first CLT buildings in North America and will demonstrate its market potential for the forest industry.
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September 16, 2012 – Vol. 17 No.27