How a multi-fuel plant works

The future of biomass and waste fired plants lies in flexibility. We are leading the way with decades of experience burning these fuels.

A multi-fuel facility works in very much the same way as a traditional waste-to-energy plant. The “fuel” (municipal waste, industrial/agricultural bi-products, bio waste, refuse-derived fuels, etc.) is fed to a grate where it is burned, thus creating heat that is used to fire boilers, which in turn generate hot water or steam to drive electricity producing turbines.

The challenge of firing with multi-fuel lies in the widely differing characteristics of biomass fuel. For example, biomass ashes do not melt at the same temperature; different types of fuel do not burn in the same way and therefore don’t produce the same emissions. Multi-fuel technology must be able to handle the various methods of combustion and also ensure an optimum, thoroughly reliable result for each type of fuel at one and the same time.

Three key technological considerations

Because of the differences outlined above, an effective multi-fuel facility will require:

  • Appropriate feeder systems for different types of fuel (e.g. RDF, pellets, straw, chips, lumps)
  • Appropriate grate technology (often a vibrating grate is the best choice)
  • Optimal mixing of flue gasses

Tomorrow’s plants must be ultra-flexible

The biomass and waste-to-energy plants of the future will need to be based on a much higher degree of flexibility. Compiling and integrating various combustion technologies means that many types of fuel can be used in the same plant, making them less dependent on a single type of fuel.

Our multi-fuel technology is the result of decades of experience burning biomass and waste-to-energy.

Today, there are a large number of plants, each of which uses different types of biomass to produce energy. Some exclusively use straw, others wood chips, and still others have taken a step further and now fire with multi-fuel – a mixture of various kinds of biomass, contaminated bio waste, and certain types of refuse-derived fuels (RDF).

Our multi-fuel technology is designed for RDF and SRF fuels

Contaminated bio waste from demolishing industry, solid recovered fuels (SRF), and refuse-derived fuels (RDF) are all attractive fuels in the low-price category. Most of these fuels contain small amount of paint, metal, etc., which adds requirements to the combustion- and flue gas- cleaning technology, as the plant must comply with the waste incineration directive.   

With eight decades of waste-to-energy innovation and more than three decades of biomass experience we have developed a unique integration process for these fuels.

Less dependence on seasonal fuels

The primary advantage of the multi-fuel solution is that it provides more opportunities to use biomass that’s available locally. Instead of having to store biomass fuel or collect it from other areas, these multi-fuel energy plants can interchange fuels and maintain steady production throughout the year. Other benefits include savings on transport and fuel storage.

Energy production in the future

In spite of the challenges, multi-fuel technology offers so many advantages that future efforts will be devoted to an increasing integration of combustion methods at individual plants. Furthermore, the production of various types of energy will be brought together as well. This development means that plants of the future will be far better equipped to meet and adapt to supply and demand.

For more information on these and other aspects of our solutions, please visit the special section of this website devoted to multi-fuel technologies.