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Pratt & Whitney Power Systems to deliver biomass power plant for Nechako in BC


October 20, 2011
By Anthony Capkun

October 19, 2011 – Pratt & Whitney Power Systems has been awarded a contract to deliver a 2 MW biomass heat recovery power plant for Nechako Green Energy Ltd. in Vanderhoof, B.C. The power plant will provide carbon-neutral power to the company’s Premium Pellet plant operation and, says Pratt, marks the first ever Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) installation in a forest products facility built by Turboden in North America. (Turboden is a Pratt & Whitney Power Systems company, while Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.)

“This biomass-based ORC unit is the first project of its kind in a Canadian mill, with significant potential for replication across the sector,” said Alan Fitzpatrick, president of Nechako Green Energy Ltd. “There is a tremendous opportunity to unleash clean energy generation from biomass resources using this technology. This ORC unit will allow us to become much more energy and cost efficient.”

The Turboden ORC unit includes an evaporator/preheater and turbine, and will operate at 280 C, providing the pellet plant with 2 MW of renewable electrical power at max load. The plant produces 140,000 tonnes of wood pellets annually, and the ORC unit uses thermal oil from an existing biomass system to burn the mill’s residual hog fuel and waste bark, which would otherwise be sent to a landfill.

“This biomass project builds upon our growing presence in North America, where we have developed several other projects in heat recovery and solar thermal applications,” said Alessandro Foresti, director of Turboden (in photo). “Biomass-fuelled power generation is one of the cleanest, most cost-effective ways to lower fuel costs and GHGs, and we’re proud to help Nechako lead the way in on-site renewable energy production for British Columbia and Canada.”

Installation of the Turboden ORC unit is funded in part by a contribution from the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, an initiative by Natural Resources Canada to invest in innovative technologies helping transform Canada’s forest sector.