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GE supplies biogas engines at Chinese ethanol plant

In a bid to encourage the use of biogas across China, Austria's GE Energy is to supply its Jenbacher biogas engine technology to power China's largest ethanol production plant, which is currently under construction in the city of Nan Yang, Henan Province.

Owned and operated by Henan Tianguan Group, the new ethanol plant will produce 500,000m3 of biogas a day, from organic material such as cassava.

A 36MW onsite power plant featuring GE's Jenbacher engines is being built in multiple phases to support the ethanol plant's operations. Both new facilities are being built adjacent to the company's existing ethanol production facility, which uses a biomass digester system to convert cassava in ethanol in China.

For the 11MW first phase of the new onsite power plant, GE is supplying four of its J620 biogas engine units. The gas engines will utilise the ethanol production facility's waste methane biogas to generate renewable electricity, which Henan Tianguan Group plans to sell to the regional grid.

GE's biogas engines will also use methane gas created by the anaerobic digestion of cassava biomass to produce renewable electricity for the site.

With an efficiency rate of 82.8% (electrical efficiency, 42.8%; thermal efficiency, 40%), the new biogas power plant will provide Henan Tianguan Group with important operational and energy savings.

Replacing fossil fuels with biogas is expected to reduce the equivalent of 1.1 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

'Installing GE's Jenbacher biogas engines at our ethanol production facility will offer clear environmental benefits and help us achieve significant energy efficiency gains to help us generate more profits and become more competitive throughout the region,' says Zhang Xiaoyang, chairman of he Henan Tianguan Group.

GE's Jenbacher engines and associated equipment are due to be delivered to the project site starting in April 2011. After engine installation has been completed and the plant commissioned, the biogas power plant is scheduled to begin operating in July 2011.