Engineering staff help to develop new Bio-fuel

Staff from the Faculty of Engineering, led by Prof. Jenny Jones (School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering) have played a key role in the trials of a new bio-fuel.

This could mean a cleaner, greener future for coal-fired power stations.

The new technology, which has been created by the company Rotawave Biocoal, is made of energy-dense pellets from wood, which burn like coal but do not produce the same carbon emissions. The trial revealed that the biocoal gives a quicker, more efficient, lower carbon, lower capital cost option than direct biomass. It gives off significantly less greenhouse gas and burned in the power station in a similar manner to coal - mill power was unchanged, flame stability was normal, and mill reject rates were acceptable.

The trials were conducted by the University of Leeds and power supplier SSE and were part funded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board. Tests were carried out at SSE’s Uskmouth B Power Station in South Wales during the combustion and milling process to ascertain the suitability and feasibility of the product and to analyse emissions.

Project Manager, Professor Jenny Jones said “the results of the trial are important for providing confidence in the performance of biocoal in large scale boilers”.

Bob Rooney, from Rotawave said “Many UK coal fired power stations will have to close as they cannot meet emissions targets. They can however choose to meet these targets by co-firing biocoal with coal or converting to 100% biocoal electricity generation. Co-firing using Rotawave’s biocoal can therefore prevent the closure of coal-fired power stations and offer a better solution for the design and build of new low-carbon power stations, potentially saving several billion in capital costs across the UK.”