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The project is co-financed by LIFE+, the EU's financial instrument
supporting environmental and nature conservation projects

LIFE

Summary

Below, you can find information about the main project objectives, the expected outputs and benefits of the SMARt CHP application.
Scope of the proposed project was the demonstration of an innovative small scale mobile power production unit, for the energy utilization of agricultural residues generated in rural areas of W. Macedonia, where large amounts of biomass wastes are available. The unit consists of a gasification reactor combined with an internal combustion engine adjusted to work on producer gas for electrical power and heat. The size and versatility of the unit allowed its use in a mobile manner, thus minimising the biomass transportation and logistics cost through utilising the residues at the place of origin. Moreover, the demonstration of the mobile unit promoted the concept of bioenergy use via a decentralised electrical energy production unit, an integrated system of great potential towards sustainable development of rural regions.
Main objectives were:

  • The demonstrative operation of a developed technology through testing and application in real world conditions.
  • Promotion of an innovative concept for local actors and entrepreneurs in the field of renewable energy utilisation.
  • Biomass energy potential evaluation and contribution to national road mapping with practical data for small scale decentralized bioenergy systems for combined heat and electricity production in rural areas.
The structure of the SMARt CHP project was organised along the following six actions:

A1: Regional biomass availability profile

In the framework of A1 a detailed survey of the generated agricultural residue streams in different regions in the region of Western Macedonia was conducted. Aim of the survey was development of a comprehensive inventory of biomass available to be used as input for the SMARt CHP operation. According to the biomass generation inventory and considering logistic issues (such as transportation cost, capital and operating costs at receiving, handling, storing, and processing of biomass species), several locations for SMARt CHP demonstration operation were selected. The four selected sites were the DHCP facilities and city centre at Ptolemaida, as well as the UACA winery and headquarters at Amyntaion.

A2: SMARt CHP unit development

In A2, the mobile unit, with combined heat and power generation capability, for energy utilisation of agricultural residues was designed and manufactured. The unit consists of a gasifier combined with a power generator set, comprising an ICE adjusted to work on producer gas achieving high energy and environmental performance. The electrical power production reaches approximately 3 kWel and the thermal power 8 kWth by utilising less than 2 kg/h of biomass and a minimum amount of propane to pilot the gas combustion in the ICE. The gasification unit design was consistent with the specific physical and chemical characteristics of the selected biomass species, according to the results of the analysis in A1.

A3: Demonstrative operation

A3 concerns the demonstrative operation of SMARt CHP at the four selected locations in Western Macedonia from March to July 2012 according to the analysis of A1. The four demonstration events were carefully designed and implemented, each of fifteen days duration, one in each location. During the demonstration period several aspects were monitored such as process parameters, energy and environmental performance, visitor attendance etc. Those data were used as input for further analysis in A4. An operation report describing all the events was carried out, covering technical, administrative and dissemination issues.

A4: Demonstration results and sustainability analysis / best practice guidelines

Based on the demonstration data and the report of A3, a detailed result analysis was conducted taking into account technical, administrative and sustainability aspects. A4 also develops operational guidelines and training material aiming at target group support. A4 consists of three tasks. In task 4.1 demonstration result analysis was conducted evaluating system performance, highlighting technical and administrative obstacles for the successful implementation of SMARt CHP units. Sustainability analysis was conducted in task 4.2 taking into account environmental and socioeconomic issues. Finally task 4.3 focuses on setting guidelines for training and support of potential users and interested stakeholders, towards understanding the potential of bioenergy utilization, impelling them in creating and sustaining SMARt CHP-based actions and businesses.

A5: Dissemination of project results

Action 5 (A5) works at two levels: At the first level it was attempted to create awareness about the project results at national and European level. The second level was to facilitate the collaboration and exchange of information between the project beneficiaries and other interested parties. The dissemination activities were not only informative, but were also used to gather feedback from interested parties concerning the project results. A5 aims at structuring the consortium main activities to disseminate the knowledge gained during and after the development of the project and its progress.

A6: Management and coordination

SMARt CHP is a project of significant potential impact. In order to achieve its goals, its management was given highest importance. The partners were all committed to work together for the timely preparation of the outputs and deliverables. The coordinator engaged highly skilled project management and administrative personnel to ensure the best results. A combination of frequent on-line progress meetings, regular face-to-face meetings and internal progress reports were applied to give a clear overview of the project’s progress and outputs.

The innovative approach of biomass energy utilization at the place of origin, minimizing transportation and logistics costs, provides a means of boosting sustainable development in rural areas, while reducing CO2 emissions from conventional combustion, hence contributing to climate change mitigation policies. The resulting incorporation of agricultural activities in the energy production sector enhances the potential of decentralized energy market creation. This way, SMARt CHP will support the creation of a number of bio-businesses in rural areas, based on mobile energy production units that will utilise by-products of agricultural and forestry activities, which are otherwise treated as waste and are by no means involved in the food chain.
The benefits from SMARt CHP application are:

  • Estimation of bioenergy potential and its scattering across the region of W. Macedonia and promotion of the potential of residual biomass utilisation for decentralized CHP to stakeholders and target groups. It was estimated that the available residues in the prefecture of W. Macedonia were more than 3.6 million tons, the utilisation of which can result in more than 1.3 million-TOE savings. In addition, it was decided that four residues would be utilised (olive kernels, peach kernels, grape kernels and almond shells).
  • Pilot operation of a mobile decentralised power production unit through which organisational, technical and operational issues that emerged were faced. During the unit’s operation several issues arose most of which were successfully surpassed. The most significant difficulties originated on biomass quality, biomass pre-treatment, system pressure drop and automation. The unit operated for a total of 461 hours during the demonstrations utilising 302 kg of grape kernels, 234 kg of olive kernels and 234 kg of peach kernels.
  • Involvement and training of personnel working in both the private (agricultural business) and the public sector (local authorities), on issues and methods of biomass utilisation for renewable CHP production. This will ensure the continuity of the project results after the end of the project.
  • Increase of general public awareness about energy and environmental issues related to SMART CHP unit and their direct impact to regional development through the demonstration operation and supporting dissemination activities.
  • Initiation of actions towards the promotion and development of SMARt CHP systems at different levels: technological, financial, policy and strategic.
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