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New Zealand’s Genesis Energy announces “successful biomass trial”

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Genesis Energy has successfully completed a biomass burn trial as it looks at alternative fuel options for Huntly Power Station, the company announced on 21 February.
The objective of the week-long trial was to prove the technical viability of operating a Rankine unit solely on biomass. That was achieved with a Rankine running only on biomass for several hours, Genesis said.
Significant research and work has occurred over the past year to identify the most suitable type of biomass to use, with the company securing a supply of it from offshore,
understanding the adjustments needed to operate the Rankine and implementing robust health and safety guidelines.
International experts involved in converting coal-fuelled power stations to
biomass assisted the Genesis team, added the organisation.
Interim chief executive
Tracey Hickman said the trial is important for Genesis and the country, because Huntly was built to provide vital backup to New Zealand's highly renewable electricity generation.
"We see Huntly's backup role continuing for some time and it's important we explore more sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to coal, especially if we're able to adapt existing plant that can be used to 2035 and extended to 2040. It makes sense for the country in terms of reducing emissions, security of supply and financially," Hickman said.
"Eventually, new technology or an over-supply of new renewable generation might be able to provide security of supply, but that is some time away and not yet certain."
Biomass is increasingly being used offshore as an alternative to coal. It can deliver a similar amount of energy and can be stored outside. Genesis said it will analyse the findings from the trial over coming months, including the critical issue of exploring the viability of a local and sustainable supply chain.
There is currently no local source of the type of pellets needed for Huntly and
Genesis will talk with businesses in a similar position that might provide the scale to support a reliable local supply chain.
"We believe it's worth some focus by government and business to see if a sustainable local supply chain can be developed. Compared to some other decarbonisation solutions,
biomass conversion could be implemented much sooner to the benefit of the country," said Hickman.
Findings are being shared with New Zealand government officials and other large commercial businesses also working on decarbonisation.
"The trial has provided an opportunity to show other businesses what we've done, what we've learnt and to hear from international experts experienced in helping businesses move from coal to
biomass," Hickman said.
The trial used black torrefied
biomass sourced from Canada. During torrefaction, wood residue is heated slowly without oxygen to between 200°C - 300°C.
The process creates a solid uniform product with lower moisture and about 30% more energy than raw
biomass. Using torrefied biomass generally produces less than 10% of the emissions of coal.









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