Power from waste – the world’s biggest biomass power plants

1 April 2014 (Last Updated July 1st, 2020 22:50)

Biomass power is poised to occupy a significant share in the global renewable energy mix, as new technologies reach commercial deployment and some coal- fired plants, such as Drax power station in the UK, are converted. Power-technology.com profiles nine of the world’s biggest operational biomass power plants based on installed power capacity.

Power from waste – the world’s biggest biomass power plants

Ironbridge power station

Ironbridge, United Kingdom - 740MW

With 740MW capacity, the Ironbridge power plant located in the Severn Gorge, UK, is the world's biggest biomass power plant. Ironbridge was previously a coal-fired power station with an installed capacity of 1,000MW. Two units of the plant were converted for biomass-based power generation in 2013.

The power plant is owned and operated by UK power and gas company E.ON. The Ironbridge power station is due to close in 2015 as part of European Union's Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). E.ON has converted the plant to generate power from wood pellets until its scheduled closure.

Alholmens Kraft, Finland - 265MW

Alholmens Kraft, a 265MW bio-fuelled power plant located at the factory premises of the Finnish pulp, paper and timber manufacturer UPM-Kymmene in Alholmen, Jakobstad, Finland, is the world's second biggest biomass power plant. The plant, operational since January 2002, also supplies 100MW of heat for the UPM paper mill and 60MW of district heating for the inhabitants of Jakobstad.

The Alholmens Kraft Power Plant designed by Metso utilises a Circulating Fluidised-Bed Boiler supplied by Kvaerner Pulping. The plant is owned and operated by Oy Alholmens Kraft, a 49.9% owned subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima. The other stakeholders of the plant include Perhonjoki, Revon Sahko Oy and Skelleftea Kraft.

Polaniec, Poland - 205MW

At 205MW capacity, the Polaniec biomass power plant located at Polaniec in south-east Poland is the world's third biggest biomass power plant. The plant, using tree-farming and agricultural by-products as fuel, began commercial operation in November 2012.

The fully biomass-fuelled plant is owned and operated by GDF SUEZ and has the world's biggest and the most advanced biomass circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boiler which was manufactured by Foster Wheeler. The plant generates electricity enough for 600,000 households while offsetting 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Kymijärvi II, Finland - 160MW

Lahti Energy's 160MW Kymijärvi II power plant located in the Lahti city of Finland, about 100km north of Helsinki, ranks as the world's fourth biggest biomass power plant. It is a gasification-based power plant utilising solid recovered fuel (SRF) such as unclean plastic, paper, cardboard and wood. Kymijärvi II is located near Kymijärvi I which generates power mostly from coal despite the installation of a biomass CFB gasifier at the plant in 1998.

The Kymijärvi II power plant began commercial operation in May 2012 and comprises of an atmospheric pressure CFB gasifier 25m in height and with an outer diameter of 5m that converts waste-derived fuel into combustible gas, a natural-circulation steam boiler, Siemens SST 800 Tandem turbine, and Siemens Gen5-100A-2P generator. Metso provided automation system for the power plant.

The Kymijärvi II plant generates 300GWh of electricity and 600GWh of district heat. The electricity is fed into the national grid using a 110-kV connection at the Kymijärvi substation.

Vaasa Bio-gasification plant, Finland - 140MW

The 140MW biomass gasification facility in Vaasa, Finland, commenced operation in March 2013. Vaskiluodon Voima Oy, a subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima, built the plant with an investment of €40m ($52m) as part of its exiting 565MW Vaskiluoto-2 coal-fired plant.

The biomass power plant produces biogas from wood mainly comprising forest residue and then burns it to produce heat for power generation. The plant also provides 170MW of district heating. The power plant involved the construction of an advanced CFB gasifier and the modification of the existing coal boiler. Metso delivered the bio-gasification plant as part of a contract awarded in June 2011.

Wisapower, Finland - 140MW

The Wisapower plant located at UPM's Wisaforest paper mill complex in Pietarsaari, Ostrobothnia, Finland, has an electrical output capacity of 140MW. The heat output of the plant, which has been operational since 2004, is 400MW. Pohjolan Voima owns and operates the plant through its subsidiary company Wisapower Oy.

The Wisapower biomass-fired power plant uses black liquor as its primary fuel. The SST-800 steam turbine and the generator used at the plant were supplied by Siemens. The boiler for the plant was provided by Andritz. Jaako Poyry was engaged as the EPC contractor for the plant.

New Hope Power Partnership, US - 140MW

The biomass power plant built by New Hope Power Partnership (NHPP), based at South Bay, Florida, US, has an installed capacity of 140MW.

The New Hope Power Partnership biomass power plant burns sugar cane fibre (bagasse) as well as recycled urban wood for electricity generation. The power output of the plant is used for processing sugar cane as well as for supplying electricity around 60,000 homes.

Kaukaan Voima, Finland - 125MW

Kaukaan Voima biomass- fired power station located in Lappeenranta, Finland, has an installed electrical capacity of 125MW. The power plant, inaugurated in May 2010, also produces 110MW of district heat for Lappeenrannan Energia and 150MW of process steam for UPM's Kaukas mills.

The plant is owned and operated by Kaukaan Voima Oy, a joint venture between Pohjolan Voima, Lappeenrannan Energia and UPM. The plant took three years to build and involved an investment of €240m ($331m). The plant burns wood and peat for generating power.

Seinäjoki, Finland - 125MW

The 125MW Seinäjoki power plant owned and operated by Pohjolan Voima's subsidiary Vaskiluodon Voima is located in the Seinäjoki city in Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland. The plant has been operational since 1990 and has a district heat capacity of 100MW.

The Seinäjoki plant uses woodchips and peat as main fuel, and coal as backup fuel. Metso was awarded an automation retrofit contract for the biomass power plant in October 2013. The original automation system at the plant is being replaced by a Metso DNA automation system.

NRI Energy Technology