GE, Phoenix Energy progress California biomass gasification plans

By Anna Simet | September 11, 2015

Under a previously announced partnership, GE’s Distributed Power business, Western Energy Systems, will supply technology to Phoenix Energy’s planned biomass gasification plant in North Fork, California.

GE and Phoenix Energy indicated an agreement under which GE will supply an Ecomagination qualified, 1-MW engine and biomass gasification system for the project Phoenix Energy is building in North Fork. Last October, Phoenix Energy announced a similar project in Lake Tahoe, for which GE has provided its Jenbacher J612 gas engines, and plans are in the works to replicate similar projects across the state, according to the companies.

For the North Fork project, Phoenix Energy will use the GE gasification solution to convert excess forest biomass to electricity, heat and biochar, supporting the state and federal efforts to reduce wildfire risk, eliminate wasteful pile and burn management practices and improve carbon sequestration. The biomass is being procured locally from U.S. Forest Service and CalFire managed lands.

In April, the North Folk project received a $4.9 million grant awarded by the California Energy Commission.  Other Phoenix Energy projects nearing agreement will interconnect with various local utilities under California’s new SB-1122 legislation, which seeks to support further deployment of bioenergy in the state, the company said.

Phoenix Energy plans to commence operation of the North Fork plant in the fourth quarter of 2016. GE and Western Energy Systems also will provide technical support and service for Phoenix Energy’s installed systems.