Biomass Heat and Power
Posted: December 7, 2010
On November 17 and 18, bioenergy experts and business people from throughout the region gathered in Greensburg PA for the Penn State Bioamss CHP Systems Short Course.
CHP, or "Combined Heat and Power" is the strategy of simultaneously generating the heat and the electrical power for a building, rather than doing it separately. Traditional electricity generation is less than 35% efficient at using energy in a fuel. Switching to CHP can more than double that number, according to Gearoid Foley of the US Department of Energy's Clean Energy Application Center. Furthermore, combining CHP with biomass results in a system that is not only very high in its efficiency, but is also renewable, affordable, and practical.
Speakers throughout the two day event discussed the issues needed to better understand, develop, and design Biomass CHP projects in the region. Topics included combustion systems, emissions control, fuel handling, economics, and policy issues. Several Pennsylvania manufacturers of energy equipment were represented, including Elliott Turbomachinery, Abbott Energy Systems, 1st RET, and AFS Energy Systems. The short course ended with a tour of Greensburg Thermal, a local CHP plant that has been testing biomass fuels with very good results. "This was the best short course I have been to in a long long time" said attendee Mary Carol Frier. The short course was jointly sponsored by the Penn State Biomass Energy Center, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Catalyst Connection and the US Department of Energy's Mid Atlantic Clean Energy Application Center.