The two companies have helped to develop a project to produce electricity from waste material using GE’s Clean Cycle Heat-To-Power generator GE Power & Water and Nashville-based PHG Energy have successfully collaborated in a project to produce electricity from waste material using GE’s Clean Cycle heat-to-power generator.
The generator is manufactured by GE Power & Water and is used around the world to convert waste heat into electricity. The system developed by the two companies, called the PHG Energy (PHGE) begins with the gasification of waste wood chips or other biomass in order to produce a clean-burning producer gas which is then combusted in a heating unit supplying the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) with the thermal source it needs to operate efficiently thereby generating enough electricity to supply around 50 homes.
“This system integrates three proven technologies: GE's heat-to-power generator, PHG Energy's gasifier and a standard heat exchanger” said PHG Energy President Tom Stanzione. “The project is simple and elegant in its straightforward design, capable of operating on multiple and varied waste streams, and offers operating costs far below existing waste-to-energy generation systems in the marketplace.”
The combined GE and PHGE project is being conducted in Gleason, Tennessee, at a facility owned by Boral Brick Corporation. The plant is currently available for use by the project due to closure as a result of the US recession and its impacts on the housing industry. PHGE are currently using six industrial grade PHGE biomass gasifiers for research and development at the facility and the electricity generated by the project will be added to the grid through an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
“Innovation such as this, involving our equipment, is exciting and opens doors to many applications” added Brad Garner, President of GE's Heat Recovery Solutions Division. “Our company is constantly seeking new technology to add to our array of distributed power systems. This is an area of waste utilization that offers tremendous potential, and we believe also can help our customers meet today's pressing environmental challenges and energy demands.”
In Covington, Tennessee, another such system is being configured commercially and the city authorities there have engaged PHG Energy to build a waste-to-energy facility using both wood waste and sewage sludge as its fuel sources. This new plant will provide electric power for the city thereby saving the authorities hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in disposal costs and landfill fees. The system will also displace more than 450 tons of carbon emissions per year. PHGE is also capable of providing the same technology on a larger scale according to Tom Stanzione, the next step in the process to commercialize a plant of between 1MW and 5MW using a completed and tested PHGE gasifer that produces eight times the amount of energy generated the current models.
“In looking at the needs expressed by our customers” Stanzione said, “we see significant economic benefit by these systems, and we also see the need for direct heat thermal applications to help municipalities deal with an ever-increasing wastewater sludge disposal problem. The good news is that we can utilize the heat output not necessary for electric production to power proven drying equipment to address that opportunity.”