March Rolls in Like a Lion, Out with IBCE

By Anna Simet | January 10, 2014

March is creeping up on us, which means so is the International Biomass Conference & Expo.

It’s hard to think March when most of the country has been in the grips of record-breaking, debilitating, absolutely miserably cold weather, but it will be here before we know it.

The agenda is now out, and today I thought I would highlight a panel being moderated by none other than yours truly.

“Taking a Big Swing: How Biomass is Increasingly Being Called Up to the Big Leagues of Heat and Power Generation” will include presentations by Brent Boyko, station manager of Ontario Power Generation’s Atikokan Station; David Groleau, director of business development for NTE Solutions; Kerry Flick , director of technology at Valmet Inc; and  Valentino Tiangco , biomass program manager, at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Brent Boyko is going to give you the story of Atikokan’s conversion from coal fuel to wood pellets. We’ve followed this story closely at Biomass Magazine over the last couple of years, so it’s exciting to see it nearing the finish line. I checked in with Brent to see what was going on at Atikokan constructionwise this week, and he said burner and controls commissioning is underway. The silo and material handling work is at the 80 percent mark, he added.

Next, David Groleau is going to talk about a hybrid solution for combining biomass combustion with steam electric generating technologies. Here’s a description of the technology: NTE Hybrid’s patented process combines two proven technologies: steam produced from the processing of a biomass fuel source is combined with steam produced from the processing of natural gas or fossil fuel and routed through a steam turbine generator to produce electrical energy.

The company has recently scored a third patent that identifies additional steam paths for combining steam generated from renewable and nonrenewable sources that may boost efficiencies and outputs, as well as opening the door to new retrofit applications.

Kerry Flick is going to talk about Valmet’s large-scale gasification technology for heat and power. Valmet, as many of you may know, was formerly a sector of Metso. As Biomass Magazine reported late last year, Metso underwent a demerger, and renamed its bioenergy/pulp and paper sector Valmet.

Anyway, I wrote a feature article on the history and future of Metso’s—er, Valmet’s—bio-oil and gasfication technology late last year, for which I spoke with the company’s gasification business development manager Bill Partanen.  He said the first CFB gasification system was installed by Gotaverken—now Metso—at a papermill in Varo, Sweden, in 1987, and is it still in operation at the mill. Metso has over 30 years of experience doing this, and I have no doubt Flick will have some interesting thoughts to share.

Last but certainly not least, our friend at SMUD, Valentino Tiangco, is going to talk about biomass power opportunities and progress in SMUD’s region. What can I say about SMUD? Well, a lot. SMUD has done an incredible amount of work to help renewable energy projects there get off the ground there (here and here are a few examples that we have reported on)and pays a feed-in tariff for eligible renewable energy resources and qualifying combined-heat-and-power installations up to 5 MW.

While that wraps up my panel, you can check out the full agenda here.

Hope to see you in Orlando in March!