A new biomass gasification plant in Vaasa, Finland set the open by December 2012 is on track to be the largest plant of its kind in the whole world. The 140-megawatt, €40 million plant will be used not only to provide heat to the plant, but will also sell off excess power to a grid in the community.
Biomass is biological material from living or recently living organisms such as wood. Considered a renewable energy source, biomass is typically forest residues (like dead trees, branches and tree stumps), wood chips, and sawdust that come from wood processing plants. By burning biomass, plants and mills not only prevent waste from entering landfill systems or being disposed into the environment, they also create alternative energy sources for their own plants and, as in the case with Vaasa, surrounding power grids.
Alternative energy was a key reason for the creation of this plant, says Juhani Isaksson, the production manager of Metso – the company providing the Vaasa plant with biomass.
“The majority of the world’s energy production is still heavily relying on coal,” he said in an article written by Biomass Magazine. “Metso’s new biogasification technology, including biomass drying, offers a new, cost-effective alternative for large coal-fired plants to increase the share of biomass and reduce the proportion of coal and emissions.”
Vaskiluodon Voima Oy – the heat and power producer that owns the Vaasa plant – estimates that they will be able to replace 25 to 40 per cent of the coal it now uses by opening this new plant adjacent to it’s current coal-fired plant, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 230,000 tons per year.