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AET secures order for biomass boiler from NOVAWOOD

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Aalborg Energie Technik (AET) has secured an order for a biomass-fired boiler in France.

The firm will supply the 65 MWt boiler to NOVAWOOD, a company formed through a partnership between ENGIE Solutions, Novacarb, and French railway firm SNCF.

The NOVAWOOD project began in 2014 with talks between Novacarb, Engie, and SNCF, followed by talks at local and national levels. Operating authorisation was granted in March 2018.

By building a highly-efficient biomass-fired cogeneration plant, NOVAWOOD aims to improve its environmental performance while maintaining its competitiveness, according to AET. The plant will produce steam for the Novacarb site in Laneuveville-devant-Nancy and power for the grid by combusting waste products.

With an investment of €80 million, the biomass-fired cogeneration plant will supply steam for its production facility and supply 115 GWh of green electricity per year to the national electricity network, equivalent to the consumption of 65,000 households.

Engie will, as the main contractor, arrange fuel collection from two sources: railway sleepers from the French national railway company SNCF and waste wood from SOVEN, a French biomass firm.

Novacarb is part of the mineral specialities division of the SEQUENS Group and specialises in the production and marketing of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate. Production has taken place at this site for more than 160 years and the produces are made from two raw materials: limestone extracted from its quarry and salt from its salt farms.

Novacarb’s goal with NOVAWOOD is to reduce the site’s dependence on coal by around 40% and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 150,000 tonnes per year.

The fuel transformation also has economic benefits for Novacarb, as the gradually increasing carbon tax affects the firm’s competitiveness, according to Aalborg. The company employs 300 people and 150 people from outside firms, who are permanently on-site.

Novacarb’s activity generates 900 local jobs, with a total employment pool of approximately 1,350 people. The NOVAWOOD project with Engie will develop the region’s economy through the creation of local jobs.

Alain Guillerme, project realisation director at NOVAWOOD, said: “As every industrial customer, Novacarb requires a reliable steam supply and high boiler availability.

“Engie has several AET biomass boilers in its portfolio, being operated for years. The experience from these sites is very good, with low maintenance issues. In addition, AET design offers high efficiencies, which is a critical criterion for an industrial plant operating all-year-round.

“Lastly, the good experience we had with the AET project management convinced Engie to sign with them for the NOVAWOOD project.”

“We are pleased to continue the cooperation with Engie and now with the combustion of railway sleepers and waste wood; waste wood is an up-and-coming fuel in France,” said AET’s CEO, Lars Kristensen.

“The high steam temperature, with the combustion of railway sleepers and waste wood, in this case, is essential to make a viable business case for Engie and Novacarb. At AET, we are very happy to take a new step with NOVAWOOD, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 150,000 tonnes per year.”