Case study – Conversion of the cogeneration unit Amercentrale in the Netherlands
explosion-proof co-firing conveyor technology
Retrofitting a fossil-fired combined heat and power plant for biomass transport
Reclaimed wood and wood pellets
Year of construction
2016 to 2019
Trough chain conveyors, belt conveyors, screw conveyors, silo screw reclaimers and the modernization of a complete silo
Engineering, production and delivery of the extensive fire and explosion protection technology
Sustainable conversion of an RWE coal-fired power plant with Loibl conveyor systems
Pellets are turned into energy – With intelligent conveying solutions from Loibl
Construction and demolition timber may contain various foreign bodies, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metal parts having a negative impact on the conveying circuit. Especially scrap wood requires various measures to remove particles and foreign bodies adversely affecting a continuous fuel supply. Loibl has extensive experience in developing solutions for these challenges. In order to avoid damages the company has integrated appropriate sieves and metal separators in the Amercentrale. Special attention was given to the compliance with all requirements of explosion and fire protection as well as the directives and noise protection regulations for equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres (ATEX).
The wood pellets are supplied to the port of the power plant by inland vessels. Pneumatic ship unloaders suck the material to be conveyed from the interior and have it drop onto completely enclosed troughed belt conveyors. This suction method represents an effective, time-saving, cost-efficient and clean alternative to gripper unloading. In addition, the sensitive wood pellets are protected against wind and rain. Loibl’s troughed belt conveyor has a belt width of 1,400 mm and a length of 185 meters. Using so-called “automatic cover opening devices” allows a relatively dust-free loading of the enclosed conveyor. This automatic device opens the conveyor at the loading points and closes it again. Cleaning devices underneath the troughed belt conveyor prevent dust deposits which must be avoided due to the high explosion hazard of the pellet dust. This provides an effective dust removal and explosion protection. Besides the automatic cover opening this is a unique and necessary device which has been built acc. to the fire safety regulations and ATEX directives.
Every Loibl conveyor has been encapsulated and for explosion protection reasons provided with extra heavy-duty sidewalls. The flat belts are antistatic, extremely resistant to abrasion, oil and grease as well as flame retardant. All conveyors are equipped with special detectors for surroundings with fire and explosion hazard as well as with appropriate extinguishing systems. If an explosion is detected extinguishing agent is blown in, suppressing the explosion in its earliest stages and its spreading is prevented. Fire extinguishing systems installed into containers, which are located along the conveyors ensure a safe and quick extinguishing of the conveying lines.
After having transported the wood pellets through the troughed belt conveyors from the port, it goes on to four storage silos in encapsulated trough chain conveyors. Every trough chain conveyor has a capacity of 800 tons per hour. Overall, the material is transported over a distance of almost 840 meters. The pellets are stored temporarily in the storage silos before they are continued to be transported to the boiler firing. In addition to the comprehensive steel structures refurbishment and construction work, Loibl has extensively refurbished a silo and equipped it with a silo screw reclaimer which transfers the pellets into trough chain conveyors distributing the material over a total length of approx. 500 m to several tubular screw conveyors. Through the screws the pellets enter into the storage bin. From there they are fed into the mills where they are pulverized and blown into the boiler for combustion.
Numerous flat slide gates as well as various accessories, such as dust filter systems, complete the scope of supply.
Loibl’s Scope of Supply and Services
Detailed engineering for material transport from the quay to the mills in the power plant
Manufacture in Straubing, Bavaria
Complete conveying technology essentially consisting of: trough chain conveyors, troughed belt conveyors, tubular screw conveyors, silo screw reclaimer, flat slide gates, mechanically and pneumatically operated, filter units
Refurbishment of a silo
Engineering and supply of the complete, very extensive fire and explosion protection technology along the conveying line
Delivery of all components
Complete steel structure
Erection on site incl. training, commissioning and trial operation
The EU has ambitious climate goals
Until 2020 the Member States shall source 20 percent of their energy needs from renewables. Until 2035 this share should be increased to 35 percent. Other EU countries go even further. In particular, the Netherlands want to withdraw completely from coal-fired electricity until 2030. Government subsidies serve as an incentive to push the retrofitting of coal-fired power plants or the building of new biomass-fired power plants. Both are major challenges for the operators. Loibl provides the necessary expertise in rapid and effective solutions. Our long-established company is specialized in retrofitting, refurbishing and performance improvement of power plants. In a to-date unique project Loibl has retrofitted the Amercentrale Power Plant in the Netherlands to biomass transport for the RWE Energy Group from Essen/Germany in the period from 2016 to 2019.
Loibl and RWE – A very long success story
Loibl and RWE have been working successfully for many years. Retrofitting of Amercentrale is the largest project so far with the energy giant. Located at the river Amer near to the city of Geertruidenberg is one of biggest cogeneration plant in the Netherlands. The plant has been in operation since 1993 and generates 600 Megawatt electricity as well as 350 MW heat. Optimization and maintenance of the power plant was a major consideration for RWE in terms of long-term profitability and economic efficiency. To keep the output volume, the switchover took place gradually using the co-firing method. A mix of fossil and regenerative fuels is fired simultaneously. In addition to hard coal and waste wood, mainly wood pellets are used, which derive from sustainable forestry. Loibl‘s state-of-the-art biomass transport system has been especially adapted to the specific characteristics of these partially polluted and rather homogenous, i.e. “flowable”, materials. In this way, the power plant can be changed completely to a CO2 neutral energy production until 2025.
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