Renewable electricity is produced from forest biomass and wood in one of the largest cogeneration plants in Switzerland, in Sisseln. Since the end of 2018, it supplies electricity to 17.500 homes and heating to many more customers thanks to District Heating. To receive, process, store and feed the wood chips, the company participating in Expobiomasa, Vecoplan, supplied all the machinery and carried out the installation and commissioning, in an extremely tight time frame.
An extremely climate-friendly option
The production of energy with wood and biomass is neutral in terms of CO2 in the long term, because unlike oil, gas and coal, the carbon dioxide released by burning wood, pellets or wood chips is reabsorbed by the forest in a renewable and sustainable way. This is one of the reasons why the project was developed by DSM, Caliqua and EWZ, replacing a cogeneration plant that operated with natural gas and diesel and achieving a massive reduction in CO emissions.2.
The new plant produces 48GWh of electricity per year and 221 GWh of steam for the District Heating that provides industrial heat to the companies in the industrial area where it is located. The fuel are wood chips sustainably harvested from forests and supplied by suppliers within a maximum radius of 100 kilometers.
Reception, storage and dosing: a safe and reliable process carried out by Vecoplan
The trucks deliver the biomass to the reception area of the plant. The unloading process lasts 15 minutes, during which the bulk material is deposited in two drag chain unloaders. These devices move it, dose it and transfer it to the next stage.
The biomass is stored in four box-type storage silos. The supply tapes have a magnet that removes metal objects such as screws and nails, among other selection and control systems. It also has two stations where samples of the processed material are taken.
Metering screws gradually feed the fuel to the conveyor belts, which in turn transport it to the furnace feed hopper. From there, the boiler is continuously fed with fuel by discharge screws. Vecoplan All components dimensioned to meet acceptance cycles and fuel requirements, ensuring efficient and safe operation at the plant.
With an overall efficiency of 86%, the Sisseln biomass cogeneration plant far exceeds the requirements of the Naturemade-Star Certification. This Swiss seal of approval is used to certify installations that generate energy in an environmentally friendly way.
The promoters have committed themselves against Climate Change, because each cubic meter of biomass that replaces fossil fuels prevents the release of 600 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the environment. This is equivalent to about 35.000 tons of CO2 per year.