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ICM branches into biomass

Ethanol company ICM has decided to branch off into the waste-to-energy sector, opening a demonstration plant in Harvey County, Kansas in the US.

The facility uses a gasifier, which is running at full capacity on various types of feedstock, such as municipal solid waste and producing syngas. The unit has the potential to produce electricity and thermal energy if it receives the investment required to purchase more equipment.

Different feedstocks have already been tested on the gasifier, such as wood chips, wheat straw, switchgrass and corn stover.

Although not yet operating at a commercial scale, ICM says the plant has the potential to produce 4-5MW a day, powering between 5,500 and 6,200 homes.

'The facility could move to a nearby land fill site that has already been closed and so we could use the transfer centre which is already set up with the sorting and recycling facilities,' Jon Orr, who is responsible for business development in the gasifier product area for ICM, told Bioenergy International. 'It has the potential to connect to the nearby grid through the substation.'

About two years ago ICM received a grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) Matching Fund program award of $500,000 (€365,500) for the research and testing of its Biomass Gasification System. In the project, ICM funded more than a 10-to-1 match that included infrastructure, testing, and operational expenses to commercialise its proprietary biomass gasification.

In 2009, ICM began operating its commercial-scale demonstration gasifier with the capacity to convert 150 tons per day of biomass and create a syngas (producer gas) at another site. Since then more than 13 feedstocks have been tested, and 7,000 tonnes of multiple feedstocks processed.

For the new facility, ICM is working with Eisenmann for the use of its Wesp technology, a multi-pollutant control system.