As Italy strives to increase its renewable energy production to 17 percent by 2020, GE’s alternative energy technology can help companies in the country support this initiative. At POWER-GEN Europe, GE is showcasing the Clean CycleTM power generation system, its new acquisition in the field of small Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC), which recently received GE’s ecomagination approval. One example of GE’s technology being highlighted at POWER-GEN Europe is the new Boscaro biomass generation plant in Vigliano Biellese, Italy, designed and built by the company Ingeco of Silea, Italy. The plant, which is owned by F.lli Boscaro, an Italian pruning and composting company, features two Clean Cycle 125-kilowatts (kW) waste heat power generation systems together with a superheated water biomass boiler and related equipment and services. The success of the project is based on advantages from the boiler and ORC system. The moving-grate boiler is designed and built to operate with a wide range of biomasses, such as the wood waste, foliage and branch wood resulting from maintenance of gardens and parks.
“The biomass boiler and GE’s innovative Clean Cycle power generation systems have allowed us to solve our wood wastes disposal challenge by converting the waste into a free fuel, with zero emissions, that we can now use to heat our buildings and to produce electricity which is sold to the grid,” said Fabrizio Boscaro, owner of the plant. “Our government promotes the development and construction of small power plants such as ours that are geographically distributed, rather than large plants. By using our local biomass resources to harness our own energy sources, we are doing our part to help Italy meet its renewable energy goals.”GE’s Clean Cycle power generation systems, which are rated at 125 kW each, have significant advantages over a standard ORC system. The most important advantage is the integrated power module (IPM), which is the heart of the system and houses the high-speed turbine and generator. The IPM utilizes magnetic bearings to support the turbine and rotor. The magnetic bearings facilitate the shaft spinning in a magnetic field rather than riding on a mechanical bearing, which eliminates friction, reduces maintenance and substantially improves reliability. Magnetic bearings do not require any lubrication systems, and the entire generator and turbine are hermetically sealed, so external seals are not required.
“Projects such as this one with F.lli Boscaro are important to addressing Italy’s energy supply needs, especially as the country continues to expand the use of cleaner, distributed energy technologies,” said Tony Hynes, vice president of sales heat recovery solutions for GE Energy. “Through the use of our proven GE technology, F.lli Boscaro has been able to turn a waste material into a useful tool to produce energy.”Another critical advantage of this system is the power electronics which convert the raw power generated at the IPM to usable electricity at the same frequency and voltage as the grid it is attached to, without having to use gearboxes or other mechanical means. Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to help meet customers’ demand for products that improve their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment. This also will drive growth for GE that delivers for its investors. Ecomagination reflects GE’s commitment to invest in a future that creates innovative solutions to environmental challenges. From 2010 to 2015, GE has committed to: doubling R&D to $ 10 billion; growing ecomagination revenues twice as fast as overall company revenue; reducing GE’s energy intensity 50 percent; reducing water consumption 25 percent; and inspiring a competitive energy future.