Small scale biomass-based Combined Heat and Power (CHP) has the potential to contribute significantly in solving the challenges Europe faces while pursuing to make its energy system smart, clean, flexible, secure, cost competitive and efficient. High efficiencies are achieved by combining heat and power generation, and even cooling can be integrated in such a scheme. Furthermore, CHP can play an important role in securing electricity supply by balancing a Renewable Energy Sources (RES) based grid (“dispatchable power”) to compensate for fluctuating wind and solar electricity. For small-scale biomass CHP systems, a standardized fuel, enabling optimization of the conversion units and thus creating a cost competitive value chain, is highly preferred. Moreover, to achieve high resource efficiencies at all times a highly flexible ratio between heat and power generation is desired. A smart, demand driven unit should be capable of dealing with the fluctuating energy demand and/or varying availability of wind/solar power. In such a case, it is advantageous if the CHP system is flexible enough to adjust its fuel load rapidly, and this is achievable particularly with liquid fuels. Unfortunately, most renewable biomass resources are solid materials with a low energy density, and a preceding liquefaction step seems attractive. The resulting liquid energy carrier is then used to fuel the CHP unit. Following the reasoning above, the SmartCHP concept has been developed.
People involved in this project: Bart Somers