Choosing the right site for a Biomass Conversion Facility
Finding the best location for a bioenergy project is also critical to its success. Where a BCF is proposed for an existing business or industrial site, its design may be dictated by available space, layout and other facilities that contribute to it.
If it's likely to be on a new greenfield site, there are several things to consider:
Storage space may be a significant factor in BCF design, layout and total ground space. Things to consider:
This needs consideration and may be affected by:
An example of woody biomass requirements is the 25 MW Woodland BCF in California, which burns up to 725 tonnes of woody waste each day - around 40 trucks.
Disposing of solid or liquid residues
BCF developers need to think about the methods and cost benefits of reusing or disposing of energy production bi-products, such as ash or biosolids from anaerobic digestion. Nearby businesses may have uses for these bi-products and this can help reduce overall running costs, making the project more financially viable.
Connecting to the grid
Proximity and connectability to the grid need to be established early in a BCF project's development, unless the electricity it produces stays on-site or goes to a nearby customer sharing the same title of land.
Generators over 5MW may require licensing through the National Electricity Market, (NEM) to sell electricity to the grid. This depends on the size of the project and how it's sold.
Also, exporting electricity to the grid will usually require a Power Purchase Agreement, (PPA) with an electricity retailer. This can take many months, so it's worth starting this process as early as possible to avoid delays in the project.
Choosing the appropriate bioenergy technology can be complex as bioenergy encompasses the use of a wide range of biomass types and conversion processes and technologies which currently exist at various scales and levels of commercialisation. Some technologies and products are being promoted and claims are being made regarding their performances that have not been independently verified.
Different manufacturers design and build their systems in various ways which employ varied technologies and mechanisms. Certain designs may better suit particular scenarios and applications and care should be taken to match the right system to meet your needs.
A good starting point for information on the current status of bioenergy technologies is the IEA Bioenergy report — A Sustainable and Reliable Energy Source , 2010, and the joint RIRDC / Bioenergy report — An Overview of Bioenergy in Australia , 2010.