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Project Information

Short title: Biomass Waste to Electricity and Bio-Carbon or Agrichar
Duration of Project: 2011 - 2014

Details of Project

1 Project Summary

Waste management in general is becoming an increasingly environmental and health risk problem. Enabling legislation and regulations are placing pressure on authorities and industry to improve on existing management processes with a greater focus on recycling with the aim of reducing the footprint of current practices in an ecological and environmentally friendly manner. Municipal solid waste and agricultural and industrial biomass waste offers a great opportunity for conversion into electricity.

Combined Turbo Compressor and Turbo Generator units have been developed, proven and used operationally on marine applications, using waste heat generated for the generation of electricity. The technology is proven in its current application and indicated individual capacity is 0.2 to 2 MW per unit allowing total plant potential up to 20 MW.

Suppliers/manufacturers of suitable plant and equipment are confident that heat produced from the combustion of biomass and municipal solid waste could be a suitable energy source. Research and energy calculations based on standard thermodynamic principles of a Brayton Cycle support the concept of such a process.

What is required is building a pilot plant testing in a practical environment the operational process and verification in practice of the efficiency of conversion of these waste products into electricity.

The technology, once proven for the proposed application, can be rolled out in modular form with varying capacities at all waste recycling sites in municipal areas. Electricity generated can be added to the supply pool available to municipal grids. An added benefit will be savings in waste management cost, mainly linked to space, social and environmental issues.

2 Project milestones/deliverables

Biomass Waste to Electricity. Biomass waste from municipal, agricultural and forestry residuals is available in substantial quantities worldwide. This technology can convert this resource to electricity and charcoal (Agrichar) in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way, and at the same time address social problems associated with poverty and the consequential environmental impact thereof. (Future trading ratio reduction outcome.) Future trading is a human phenomenon where low income people groups will trade their recourses without calculating the future consequences of it.

Further to above support skills transfer and development of infrastructure supporting access to electricity, a cleaner environment and reduced waste in an environmentally friendly manner.

3 Project Work Plan

1) Final calculations and verification of equipment specification for pilot plant (North-West University) 2 months
2) Final engineering drawings (North-West University) 2 months
3) Ordering of equipment and materials from suppliers ( OneGreen Engineering) 2 months
4) Manufacture of local content (OneGreen Engineering and North-West University) 6 months
5) Construction of plant and equipment (OneGreen Engineering and North-West University) 6 months
6) Commissioning and testing of plant (OneGreen Engineering and North-West University) 3 months
7) Planning and up scaling for commercial application of this technology ( OneGreen Engineering) 2 months
8) Final techno-economic report (OneGreen Engineering and North-West University) 1 months

4 How will this research add to the competitive edge of company

This technology is intended for Independent Power Producers (IPP) including rural communities, Local Governments and Private Entities, PPE, (Public and Private Enterprises) investing in power generating capacity.
This research will empower OneGreen Engineering and its technology partners including North-West University to be a key developer of these renewable energy technologies and control systems.
OneGreen Engineering will be able to export this technology to Africa and beyond.

5 What is innovative about this research AND how will technology transfer take place?

Industrial turbo machines can convert heat generated from biomass into electricity with a standard Brayton Cycle with the added benefit of using no water at all. This fact implicates the lowest possible impact on the environment and communities living in it.
As a by product bio-char and can be produced from this technology, further benefiting agricultural land with soil rehabilitation programs. Bio-char (Agrichar) has proved to contribute to soil water retention, preventing leaching of nutrients and improving pH of acid soils and generally increase productivity and yields
The application (Converting biomass waste to electricity and Agrichar) of this technology is new and differs from gasification in respect of the process of complete oxidation of all carbon in the biomass. The working fluid is clean air and no scrubbing of gas is required. The process is dry and needs no water as in steam and or gasification technology.
Above will introduce new opportunities for development of renewable energy technology and contribute to transfer of skills and technology to all collaborating parties, integrating contributions from Universities, Colleges, students, contractors and entrepreneurs.
This technology combined annual reduction and offset of CO 2 is 69 000 ton for a 3 MW plant
3.6 What prototype will be the result of this research?

Technology converting biomass waste to electricity and bio-char or Agrichar will be the main outcome.
OneGreen Engineering intends to build a pilot plant of 100 kW for purposes of demonstrating the technology to investors in renewable energy, IPP s, operators and Local and Central Government Institutions.

Job Creation

The construction and development of this technology will stimulate the creation of jobs for OneGreen Engineering and all its associates and technology partners. Further to above it will create opportunities for industrial relationships with the broader Renewable Energy Industry and consumers.
The commercial construction of this technology will benefit the creation of jobs in general and alleviate poverty in South Africa with the added benefit of skills and technology transfer.

Commercial Potential

Investment in Renewable Energy technology is part of a growing worldwide trend towards reduction of GHG s and the environmental impact thereof. This technology can contribute in a positive way alleviating above in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Calculations on the ROI of a 3 MW plant support the commercial application of this technology. (Available on request)
This technology will contribute to the DoE and International policies to develop and integrate renewable energy in the energy mix of the electrical supply grid of South Africa and abroad.
Calculated potential of available biomass in the 5 Metro s of South Africa indicate a potential to generate 170 MWh of electricity. (Excluding agricultural, forestry and industrial biomass waste)

Investment potential

If OneGreen Engineering can demonstrate this technology to potential investors it is anticipated to attract equity investment in this technology and OneGreen Engineering.
The commercial application of this technology will attract investment into power generating capacity from IPP s.

Budget Information

1 Investing Amount:
Initial investment required for purposes of building and constructing a pilot plant from a investor- R 3.2 m
Equity and or rights are available for investors.

2 Details of research needed

OneGreen Engineering did some intensive research over the last 2 years, gathering information on the potential of utilizing industrial turbo machines in a Brayton Cycle to generate electricity.
Thermodynamic calculations support the technical application of this technology and suppliers of equipment indicated that industrial turbo machines can be utilized in a standard Brayton Cycle to generate electricity.
What is needed is building a pilot plant to demonstrate the application and efficiency of this technology and to identify possible technical and operational barriers, included are control mechanisms and development of technology to overcome and manage it.

3 Merit of Scientific Research

The development of renewable energy technology is attracting a growing stream of investment worldwide.
The demand for and drive towards renewable energy is stimulated by the need for GHG (Green House Gasses) mitigation strategies worldwide.
This technology development is in line with local and world demand for sustainable and renewable energy development strategies.
This technology, if proved to be successful, has the capacity to draw substantial investment into renewable energy technology, generating substantial revenue and contributing to job creation, poverty relief and technology and skills development strategies.
Further to above this technology is environmentally friendly and will contribute to alleviating the impact of waste on societies and the environment.
A cost can be converted into revenue, creating opportunities for investment in renewable energy technology for IPP s ( Independent Power Producers)
This technology has the potential to be exported to Africa and beyond, contributing to a greener and sustainable future for the world.

4 Current scientific collaboration

University of Pretoria ( Elizbe du Toit and Prof James Blignaut)
OneGreen engineering will seek collaboration with educational institutions for purposes of technology and skills transfer for this project.
North West University