Biomass | Project Apollo Power Plant, Wisconsin

There are plans by developers Alliance Federated Energy to build the Project Apollo biomass power plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The proposed plant will have a 40MW capacity and it is hoped that it will be operational in late 2013 whereupon it will be able to produce enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

The biomass plant will use plasma gasification technology supplied by AlterNRG of Calgary to process more than 1200 tons of municipal and industrial waste per day. The technology that will go into this particular power plant has been in use in facilities that are already operational around the world. One such power plant is located in Japan and it is successfully producing electricity on a daily basis.

The site will be located on a 25-acre industrial site and it will be AFE’s first project. The design and fabrication of the power plant was originally going to be conducted by CorVal-Ryan which is based in St. Paul. In December 2010 a Joint Development Agreement was signed between AFE and Air Products and Chemicals which would see Air Products acting as advisors on the design of the project.

It is anticipated that the project will cost $225 million to complete and it will create more than 250 jobs during the construction phase. When the construction has been completed and the plant moves into operational mode it will require 45 full-time positions.

A leading waste management services company in the region, Badger Disposal of Wisconsin has already committed to supply around 30 per cent of the waste feedstock for the facility.

Plasma Gasification

Alliance Federated Energy has provided an explanation of the process of plasma gasification, how it works and what it isn’t. The explanation is as follows:

Plasma is a highly ionized or electrically charged gas. An example in nature is lightning, capable of producing temperatures exceeding 12,600°F. A gasifier vessel utilizes proprietary plasma torches operating at up to 10,000°F (the surface temperature of the Sun) in order to create a gasification zone of up to 3,000°F to convert solid or liquid wastes into a syngas. When municipal solid waste is subjected to this intense heat within the vessel, the waste’s molecular bonds break down into elemental components. The process results in elemental destruction of waste and hazardous materials.

Plasma gasification is NOT incineration. Unlike incineration, gasification creates an energy-rich syngas comprised primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is then cleaned of impurities prior to utilization for steam or electric generation, or other forms of power.

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