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Largest biomass cogeneration facility in France begins operations

By Luke Geiver | October 03, 2012

The largest biomass-based combined-heat-and-power (CHP) facility in France is now operating. Located in southwestern France at papermaker Smurfit Kappa Group LLC’s Biganos-Facture production facility, the 69 MW plant will use 503,000 metric tons of tree bark and fines from the pulp screening process to produce electricity and 260 metric tons of steam per hour.

Dalkia, a subsidiary of Veolia Environmental, performed the installation that included replacing the facility’s existing heating plant. The two-year build-out required to erect the 40 meter high biomass boiler will allow the facility to produce high-pressure steam in two turbo alternators that will produce electricity to sell to EDF Energy. The low pressure steam created at the site will be used to dry paper made by Smurfit Kappa.

Feedstock used at the facility will be provided by two sources. Roughly 200,000 metric tons of branches and tree stumps will come from Smurfit Kappa’s Comptoir du Pin logging company. Dalkia will supply another 84,000 metric tons of woody biomass through its own supply chain.

Franck Lacroix, chairman of Dalkia, called the facility rare in size, adding that the it has allowed the company to create a regional biomass supply chain that has created 94 jobs, 24 related to the plant and 70 linked to the supply chain.

In July, Smurfit Kappa also began operating a 21.4 MW cogeneration facility at a paper mill in Nervion, Spain, where pulp waste, woody biomass and black liquor is used to provide steam for the facility.