General Electric is to supply a three fuel flexible Jenbacher engines to a 5 MW organic waste to energy combined heat and power facility currently under construction in Stroevo, Bulgaria.

The company (NYSE: GE) said that it will supply one J612 and two J620 units which will be powered by syngas derived from straw and wood chip waste.

The Karlovo facility itself is being developed by EQTEC Iberia, part of Spanish holding company Ebioss Energy AD (MAB: EBI), and is the latest development in Ebioss’ strategy to apply its Integrated Biomass Gasification Cogeneration Power Plant (IBGPP) technology throughout Europe.

According to GE, organic waste such as that being used at the new facility is normally difficult to gasify effectively, but tight integration of EQTEC Iberia’s biomass-gasification technology with its Jenbacher gas engines will provide high levels of emissions performance, efficiency and economy.

The company added that using the EQTEC Gasifier Technology, steam and hot water can be generated with no reduction in output power, so overall plant efficiency will be much higher when the plant is used for district heating or other cogeneration applications.

“The IBGPP plant we developed achieves a far higher electrical efficiency than the thermal technologies traditionally used in a plant of this size,” claimed Luis Sanchez CEO of EBIOSS.

“For example, a typical Rankine thermal cycle-based plant offers an electrical efficiency of 18% to 20% from converting biomass to electricity compared to using GE’s Jenbacher gas engines that offer approximately 28% electrical efficiency and almost 70% total combined heat and power efficiency,” he continued.

Leon van Vurren, global sales leader, Jenbacher gas engines for GE’s Distributed Power business added: “Using syngas as a fuel is uncommon in such plants and represents an innovative solution to the energy challenges Bulgaria and many other nations face.”

“However, it is challenging to develop an integrated gasification design that doesn’t produce syngas containing impurities that can foul engines. The selection of technologies to work together is important,” said van Vurren.

This isn’t the first time EQTEC and GE have worked together on a biowaste project. Back in 2008 the companies worked together on an IBGPP cogeneration plant in Spain at an alcohol distillery. That plant is fueled by the gasification of residual materials from olive oil production.

The Karlovo facility is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014 and will contribute towards target of meeting 16% of its energy demand from domestic renewable resources. At present more than 70% of the country’s energy is from imported natural gas and oil.

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