Thermodynamic Performances and Cost Analysis of Advanced Biomass Combustion Power Plants

  • Roberto Carapellucci


The use of biomass for power production reveals a growing worldwide interest, due to the strategic role it has for environmental concerns, large availability and technological advances. As a raw material, biomass contains relatively high moisture, requiring thermal drying processes in order to limit energy losses at the stack.

In this paper, plant configurations with different options for drying the biomass before combustion have been discussed. Conventional indirect processes, using steam extracted from the turbine, and direct drying processes, performed through hot gases at the turbine exit, have been compared, highlighting their influence on plant layout and performance. Moreover, a thorough economic investigation has been carried out for evaluating the levelized cost of the produced electricity, as well as the profitability of each solution.

The study shows that the biomass drying through recovered thermal energy from gas turbines improves the biomass power plant feasibility. It allows for enhancing performances and reducing biomass plantation extensions with respect to conventional solutions. The analysis also demonstrates that the proposed solutions allow for lowering the cost of the produced electricity and for shortening the payback periods.


Biomass combustion electric power generation thermal drying gas turbine 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    COM(97) 599 def., 22.11.1997. Energiaper il Futuro: le Fonti Energetiche Rinnovabili, Libro Bianco per una Strategia e un Piano d’azione della ComunitàGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Libro Verde ENEA Fonti Rinnovabili di energia, Conferenza Energia e Ambiente, Napoli, 4–5 Giugno, 1998.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rapporto Interinale Settoriale, Roma Marzo 1999, punto 2 della delibera CIPE del 22 dicembre 1998, G.U. del 29 die. 1998.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Klass D.L. Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals, Academic Press. 1998.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Prasad S.B. Biomass-fired steam power cogeneration system: a theoretical study, Energy Convers. Mgmt. 1995; 36 (1): 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Riva G., Calzoni J., Fabri C. Biomassa Legnosa per Finalità Energetiche: Analisi Tecnico-Economica delle Problematiche inerenti lo Stoccaggio e l’essiccazione, 52° Congresso Nazionale ATI, Cernobbio (Como), 14–17 Settembre, 1997.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Saastamoinen J., Impola R. Drying of Biomass Particles in Fixed and Moving Beds, Drying Technology. 1997; 15(6–8): 1919–1929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Steinwall P.H. Integration of Biomass Gasification and Evaporative Gas Turbine Cycles, Energy Convers. Mgmt. 1997; 38 (15–17): 1665–1670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bywater I., Scott K., Arnoux L. Competitive Power Generation from Biomass, Renewable Energy. 1994; 5 Part II: 849–851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hulkkonen S., Aijala, Holappa J. Integration of a Fuel Dryer to a Gas Turbine Process, Asme Cogen Turbo. 1993; IGTI Vol. 8.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cipollone R., Cocco D., Bonfitto E. Integration between Gas Turbine Plants and Biomasses Drying Processes, 4th Biomass Conference of Americas, Oakland, California. 29th August — 2nd September, 1999.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Anatone M., Carapellucci R. Biomass Combustion Power Plants with Fuel Drying through a Thermal Energy Recovery, Proceedings of the 2nd National Congress Valorisation and Recycling of Industrial Wastes, L’Aquila. 7–10 July, 1999.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Anatone M., Carapellucci R., Cipollone R. Energy Opportunities from Municipal Sewage Sludge of Wastewater Treatment Plants, 2nd National Congress Valorizzazione e Riciclaggio dei Rifiuti Industriali, L’Aquila. 6–8 Luglio, 1999.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Broek van den R., Faaij A., Wijk A. Biomass Combustion Power Generation Technologies, Utrecht University report. May, 1995.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Carapellucci R., Cau G. Un Sistema di Simulazione Modulare per la Valutazione delle Prestazioni di Sistemi Energetici, IV Convegno Gruppi Combinati: Prospettive Tecniche ed Economiche, Genova, Italy. November 12–13, 1992.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bain R.L. Biomass-Fired Power Generation, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado. 1996.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Briggs R.J., Adams J.M. Biomass Combustion Options for Steam Generation, Int. Exhibition & Conference for the Power Generation Industries, Power-Gen. 9–11 December, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    U.S. Department of Energy, Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations, Topical Report TR-109496.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wereko-Brobby C.Y., Hagen E.B. Biomass Conversion and Technology, John Wiley & Sons. 1996.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    De Vita L. Produzione di Energia Elettrica da Biomasse: Alcune Valutazioni di Carattere Economico, VIII Congresso, Sistemi Energetici Complessi, Bologna. , 1997.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bain R.L., Overend R.P., Craig K.R. Biomass-Fired Power Generation, Fuel Processing Technology. 1998; 28 (6).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Craig K.R., Mann M.K. Cost and Performance of Biomass-Based Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Systems, Report NREL/TP-430-21657, National Renewable Energy Laboratories. 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Allen J., et al. Logistics Management and Costs of Biomass Fuel Supply, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management. 1998; 28 (6).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wiltsee G.A., Hughes E.E. Biomass Energy: Cost of Crops and Power, Report TR-102107, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA. 1995.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    EPRI, Technical Assessment Guide, Electric Supply, TR-102276-V1R7, June, 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Carapellucci
    • 1
  1. 1.Dip. EnergeticaUniversità di L’AquilaMonteluco di Roio, L’AquilaItaly

Personalised recommendations