Ten at one stroke - Wood gasification CHP plant pays off

A few years ago the first wood gasifier by Spanner Re² was put into operation in Jaunjelgava, Latvia, in the Baltic states. Ten independent units generate 450 kW of electrical power and 1.08 MW of thermal power. Meanwhile there are already six Spanner wood gas cascades of different sizes in operation in Latvia. The seventh is currently being installed. The system works and pays off.

Dzintars Avatos installs Spanner Re² wood gasifier in Latvia
Dzintars Avatos installs Spanner Re² wood gasifiers in Latvia.

Electricity & heat generated from wood chips

Spanner Re² large-scaled wood cogeneration plants are a combination of wood gasifier and CHP. In the reformer in the wood gasifier pre-dried wood chips are converted into high-purity wood gas at 1000° C in a patented process. The wood gas generated is then purified using a superfine filter and transformed into electrical and thermal energy in the CHP.

In Jaunjelgava, ten Spanner wood cogeneration CHP plants are connected to each other. Each one supplies 45 kWel and 108 kWth of power. In Jaunjelgava, the raw materials are primarily fresh spruce and pine wood chips that are dried beforehand. "In all of the Latvian locations where large-scale wood cogeneration plants were built, there were already biomass heating plants in place for the local heat supply," says Dzintars Avatos, Managing Director of Bio Speck SIA. The company plans, installs and oversees the plants in Latvia for Spanner Re².

Highly efficient power and heat generation with Spanner Re²

A location where only heat used to be produced now generates electricity as well. "The old heating plants now only operate in winter. In the summer, the Spanner CHPs supply enough heat," says Avatos. The wood gasifiers of Spanner Re² in Jaunjelgava provide a school, a kindergarden and several blocks of flats with heat at 2 ct/kWh. The electricity produced is fed into the national grid at 14 ct/kWh. The total investment was 4700 €/kWel. The charcoal which accumulates during gasification is collected in big bags and sold to Poland.

Why small individual wood gasifier?

If you look at the ten connected wood gasifier, you might wonder why they did not simply build one plant with ten times the power output instead. "The standardised, modular plant structure with several small subunits makes the power plant particularly flexible," Avatos explains. "Each one of the subunits can be switched on or off depending on energy requirements."

In addition, one of the features of the modular structure is the short installation time. The plant in Jaunjelgava was delivered two months after it was ordered and started operation two months later.

Ten wood gasifier of Spanner Re² stand in a row in Latvia
The ten wood gasifier of Spanner Re² stand in a row in Jaunjelgava.

Avatos sees the technology as the most important argument in favour of several small units. "When wood gas generation was developed over 100 years ago, it was only intended for small engines. That's why it was also optimised for this purpose. I know of a couple of large CHP plants that are struggling with serious technical and economic problems."

With several hundred wood gasification CHP plants built in Europe in less than ten years, Spanner Re² has clearly proved that its wood gasification CHP plants work perfectly. By dint of raw material prices, plant output and feed-in tariffs, it is easy to calculate that they also pay off.