Co-firing Conversions Heating Up Across the Country
Iconic New Zealand companies and large multi-nationals are increasingly making the switch to wood fuels prompted by a variety of business, economic and environmental factors. With a breakthrough innovation, proven fuel-blending technology is available to trial co-firing with wood energy, anywhere in New Zealand.
In partnership with Fonterra, Azwood Energy recently developed a transportable fuel-blending prototype for a large co-firing project in Brightwater. The system proved to be highly successful and Fonterra adopting fuel blending technology.
“The Fonterra co-firing project demonstrates that co-firing will become an increasingly popular way to reduce emissions, while still using capital invested in current plant equipment and boiler systems,” said Brook Brewerton, General Manager of Azwood Energy.
Co-firing is a method of using two separate fuel products to create heat in a boiler plant. In this specific instance, a percentage of wood fuel is used a substitute for coal.
The benefits of such co-firing vary depending on the nature of the boiler plant and include, but are not limited to: improved particulate emissions, reduced carbon emissions, reduced OPEX, an improved operational environment and less ash production.
Co-firing can work for any solid-fuel boiler plant, although the extent of the co-firing needs to be determined by the energy loading of the plant, its fuel-handling capacities and its configuration. The research and development investment outlay in a co-firing system is very reasonable, provided the system is well designed using the correct expertise.
Azwood Energy has developed, and owns, a co-firing trial asset which extends the front end of plant feed systems. This demonstrates that with minimal expenditure, co-firing is viable in coal plants. The system trial assists in business case optimisations by ensuring intelligent data and understandings are acquired, prior to capital being granted.
Undertaking a co-firing trial also provides organisations with short- term emissions and OPEX improvements. It ensures confidence in wood fuel as a long-term substitute for coal.
“Optimally, wood energy is best used in an exclusive firing environment, but co-firing is a good low CAPEX, short-term option for companies to positively influence their carbon and particulate emissions,” said Brewerton. “As boilers end their lifecycle, wood energy will be an obvious choice, but co-firing is the best transitional option.”
Brewerton believes the next decade will see many corporates adopt co-firing, for the short- term, to help reduce their emissions and exposure to financial risk with fossil fuel pricing and carbon pricing.
Brewerton said Government programmes, such as interest-free loans to cover full boiler changeovers, along with accelerated depreciation rates may be required to incentivise more extensive capital investment in renewable, carbon neutral, wood-fuelled plant.
Read more at Azwood.co.nz/ourstories