BEE Ghent Biomass Power Plant, Port of Ghent, Belgium

Belgian Eco Energy’s (BEE) proposed biomass-fired power plant, to be constructed at the Port of Ghent, will cover an area of approximately 5ha. It will be the biggest biomass-fired power plant in Belgium and one of the world’s biggest biomass power plantswhen it starts operations in 2018.

The biomass power plant will produce 215MW of electricity using woodchips, wood pellets and agro-residues as main feedstock. It will also produce 100MW of thermal energy.

The plant’s construction is scheduled to begin in early-2016. The overall investment in the project is estimated to be more than €315m ($358m approximately).

Part of the electricity generated by the plant will be sold to industrial customers, while the remaining power will be conveyed to the national grid. The heat will be conveyed to industrial customers initially.

BEE’s biomass power project benefits

The project will create approximately 1,100 jobs during the construction phase and between 100 and 120 jobs during its estimated production life of at least 35 years.

Its electrical output will account for 2% of the country’s overall electricity production and will be equivalent to serving 450,000 households. The thermal output will be sufficient to serve approximately 240,000 residents.

The new power plant will also offset 450,000t of CO2 emissions a year compared to a natural gas-fired power plant. It will also enable the country to reach the climate change target set by the European Union, which calls for a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels.

BEE Ghent biomass power plant make-up

The project will primarily involve the installation of a circulating fluidised bed boiler (CFB), a steam turbine and a generator for production of electricity. It will also be equipped with cooling systems and flue gas cleaning systems.

Other ancillary facilities at the project site will include a water treatment plant, a diesel-powered ancillary steam boiler, an emergency power supply system, and feedstock storage facilities.

The plant will be equipped with either a stand-alone selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) system or a combination of SCNR and SCR DeNOx systems to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and a bag filter to reduce dust emissions.

Feedstock supply and storage for the biomass-fired plant

The feedstock will be sourced majorly from the Atlantic basin, Western Africa and Northern and Southern Europe, while a small portion will be sourced from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. The pellets and woodchips will be shipped to the project site via the Ghent-Terneuzen canal, whereas the wood dust will be conveyed by lorries.

Feedstock storage facilities will include a 5,000m³ silo for the wood pellets, a 2,500m³ silo for the agro pellets and a 15,000m³ covered storage facility for woodchips. The shipping and unloading of the feedstock will be handled by Sea Invest.

BEE plant connection to the national grid

The electricity generated by the biomass power plant will be conveyed to the neighbouring substation operated by Elia, before being conveyed to the national grid.

Contractors involved with Belgium’s biggest biomass power plant

Abengoa was awarded the engineering, design and construction contract for the project in November 2014, whereas the €150m ($170m approximately) contract to operate the power plant for 15 years was awarded to Veolia in October 2015.

The environmental impact analysis report on the project was prepared by SGS Belgium