SmartCHP highlights the role of small-scale bio-CHP in Europe’s energy mix

The EU-funded SmartCHP project held its final conference in Brussels, highlighting the important role that small-scale biomass-based cogeneration can play in decarbonising the EU energy system.

Cogeneration (CHP) is the most efficient form of power generation, but currently around 80% of plants run on natural gas and fossil fuels. SmartCHP partners have developed and built a novel, flexible small-scale cogeneration unit to produce heat and electricity from sustainable biomass.

The main technical achievements of the project were presented at the conference:

  • A smooth-running engine using fast pyrolysis oil (FPBO) produced from different biomass resources;
  • Continuous operation of a 48 kWe prototype fueled with FPBO;
  • Exhaust emissions below limits set in European regulation.

The use of untreated FPBO in compression-ignition engines is very challenging and we have been working on the topic for many years. In this project we were able to achieve stable operation for over 1,000 hours with minor impact on fuel injector and fuel pump. As far as I know, this is really unique in the world.” Bert van de Beld, Director Technology at BTG Biomass Technology Group and coordinator of SmartCHP.

Alongside SmartCHP, three other promising CHP solutions which have received funding from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) were presented at the event: Blaze, SO-FREE and Fit4Micro.

Further sessions focused on how the market and policy landscape affect the roll-out of innovative bio-CHP solutions, with contributions from the European Commission, and from industry associations Bioenergy Europe and COGEN Europe.

Regarding EU policy, the SmartCHP partners presented some of their own recommendations, including:

  • The development of EU wide emission limits for small-scale bioenergy (CHP) installations with
  • The development of a market introduction programme in collaboration with national authorities
  • A change in permitting rules for SmartCHP systems.

Having launched in June 2019, the SmartCHP project will conclude on 30 November. The final results of the project are presented in a newly published booklet, which is available here. All public reports and articles from the project can be found on a dedicated Zenodo community.

The recording of the final event is available on YouTube and the slides can be downloaded via the SmartCHP website.

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