Movialsa, Spain

Size

5.9 MWe & 6.6 MWt

Project Status

Commissioned

Category

Biomass-to-energy

Applications

Electricity, steam

Background

Spain produces approximately four million tonnes of olive pomace waste annually. Because it contains high concentrations of polyphenols, lipids and organic acids, if wet olive 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.

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Project information

In 2011, EQTEC built a gasification plant at ​Movialsa in Ciudad Real, Spain, one of Europe’s largest producers of olive products and wine. Olive pomace waste is a difficult feedstock to process due to its high content of sodium and potassium as well as alkaline metals, all with very low melting points, and the challenge was in breaking down waste and putting it to good use. The second challenge was the need to make seasonal adjustments to the balance of electricity and heat production from the plant.

Over the years, we have developed and perfected our Advanced Gasification Technology at this plant, with audited data to demonstrate success for the client. As a result, we’ve been able to process olive pomace residue successfully, creating the first fully operational business case in the world for this feedstock, operating without subsidies or incentives. 

Project success

Since 2011, the plant has clocked in over 110,000 audited operating hours through its three GE Jenbacher engines, and four gasification lines, producing 5.9 MWe of electricity and 6.6 MWt of steam – all from “difficult” to process olive pomace waste – and at operational availability of c 90%.

We are able to make seasonal adjustments to the balance of electricity and heat production from the plant for Movialsa to use as an on-premise CHP solution, generating electricity and thermal energy for its production processes. 

This means not only is the plant successful, the on-premise solutions is especially helpful to Movialsa, as the energy costs associated with olive oil production rise annually.

Movialsa is also the oldest and largest commercial scale gasification plant in this industry.