Here’s how EQTEC has helped some recent partners and clients to solve their waste to energy challenges using our Advanced Gasification Technology and project management expertise.
The Only Olive Pomace Waste to Energy Plant
in the World using Advanced Gasification
Spain produces approximately 4 million tonnes of olive pomace waste annually. Because it contains high concentrations of polyphenols, lipids and organic acids, if olive wet pomace is not properly dried and disposed of, it seeps into the ground, changing the acidity and polluting soil and water. This is becoming a significant issue for the industry throughout the Mediterranean region.
Combustion of dried olive pomace waste in biomass boilers or combustion plants is becoming more difficult due to environmental legislation. The energy costs of producing olive oil are also increasing year on year.
In 2011, EQTEC built a gasification plant at Movialsa in Ciudad Real, Spain to help solve this problem. Olive pomace waste is a difficult feedstock to process due to its high content of sodium and potassium, alkaline metals with very low melting points. The second challenge was the need to make seasonal adjustments to the balance of electricity and heat production from the plant.
Over the years, EQTEC has developed and perfected our Advanced Gasification Technology at this plant. As a result, we’ve been able to process olive pomace residue successfully, creating the one and only fully operational business case for this feedstock in the industry worldwide.
Since 2011, the plant has clocked in over 110,000 audited operating hours through its 3 GE Jenbacher engines, fed by a single EQTEC Gasifier, producing 5.6 MWe of electricity and 6.6 MWt of steam – all from “difficult” to process olive pomace waste. This means not only is the plant successful, it is also the oldest and largest commercial scale gasification plant in this industry.
The Versatility to Process Multiple Agri-Waste Types
The challenge here was the client’s requirement to build a plant with the versatility to deal with changing types of agricultural waste in Greece, based on the seasonal availability of the feedstock.
We have been able to meet this demand with our Advanced Gasification Technology, as well as to employ our project management experience to collaborate with a German-Greek engineering procurement and construction firm, a Greek bank, and a German technology certifier, to begin development of a successful waste-to-value project with the feedstock versatility demanded.
Producing Carbon-rich Biochar from Forestry Waste
California offers significant opportunities for the recovery of energy from biomass feedstocks – in particular waste wood. Despite an urgent need to clear more than 100 million dead trees in the state, there are fewer than half a dozen small-scale biomass plants located there.
EQTEC signed a framework agreement with US developer and power company Phoenix Energy to jointly develop biomass gasification projects across the state. The first, in North Fork, Ca., is under construction and due to become operational in 2021, when it will have a maximum output of 2 megawatts (MW).
The challenge here was the client’s stipulation that the gasification process produce biochar instead of the usual non-hazardous ashes. Biochar is a charcoal-like substance used as a soil enhancer to increase fertility, prevent soil degradation and to sequester carbon. It is an important by-product for the client.
Waste wood is an excellent feedstock for our Advanced Gasification Technology. And because of our extensive in-house development experience, we were able to custom-design gasifiers that would produce biochar. The first project achieved its first round of financing in January 2020, and EQTEC will develop four more projects with Phoenix of between 2 MW and 3 MW capacity from wood waste.