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French Bioenergy Plans Advance

A consortium between French industrial boiler supplier Leroux & Lotz Technologies and technology firm Areva has been chosen to develop a new biomass-fired power plant in Commentry, France.

Selected following a call for tender by renewable energy independent power producer neoen, the co-generation plant will be able to generate around 15 MW of electrical power and 50 MW of thermal power.

Located in the Allier department, the €55 million project will use wood chips as fuel. Areva and its partner Leroux & Lotz Technologies will supply all the equipment and services required for the construction and commissioning of the plant, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Areva has completed the construction of two similar biomass power plants, one in Pierrelatte, France (Drôme department) as well as in the Netherlands. To date, the largest biomass power plant in France, built by Leroux & Lotz Technologies, was inaugurated in December 2009. It has a 30 MW boiler and burns 40,000 tonnes a year of wood, providing heat to 32,000 residences of the Cergy-Pontoise community of cities.

In a related development, biogas plant manufacturer Weltec Biopower GmbH, together with Alsace-based partner Domaix Energie, has begun rolling out four agricultural biogas plant projects in France with a combined capacity of around 1.6 MW.

Weltec digester tank

Apart from agricultural substrates, the biogas plants will use sludge and food leftovers.

In all four plants, residual heat will be used in a digestate dryer in order to reduce the amount of liquid manure and market the dried digestate, and by doing so an overall efficiency of at least 70 percent is expected to be achieved. The move will also enable the operators to benefit from a heat and power bonus of up to €0.04/kWh.

One of the 600 kW plants, in the département of Charente, makes use of a 3000 m³ stainless-steel digester, while another 600 kW plant in Burgundy, central France, will have two digesters with a capacity of 2000 m³ each.

The two other plants will have an electrical output of 190 kW and 255 kW, respectively. The smaller biogas plant in Lorraine comprises a 1500 m³ stainless-steel digester and will process cattle manure from the operator's farm as well as whole plant silage and food leftovers. The 255 kW plant will utilise agro-industrial waste.

Lead image: Digester tank, courtesy of Weltec

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David Appleyard is a contributing editor. A freelance journalist and photographer, he has some 20 years' experience of writing about the renewable energy sector and is based in Europe.

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