Power to the peo­ple ... when and where they want it!

Australian Forests and Timber - - Bio -

MOST BIOMASS sources [in­clud­ing wood residues] can be utilised to fire up a new, stand-alone power plant for com­bined heat and power ... and it can be in­stalled al­most any­where, and it’s avail­able in Aus­tralia!

The Re­f­gas power mod­ule, de­signed, tested and mod­i­fied by Ge­orge Wil­lacy, has been de­scribed as a unique prod­uct that is at­trac­tive for en­er­gy­in­ten­sive clients and ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

Back in 1995 Ge­orge was the owner of Wil­lacy Oil Ser­vices, a com­pany with a sys­tem for clean­ing and re­mov­ing crude oil sludge from tanks and ponds in oil re­finer­ies. The sys­tem sep­a­rated oil and wa­ter from the sludge. The re­sul­tant oil was re­turned to the re­fin­ery, the wa­ter to the waste- wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity and the sed­i­ment (free from oil) to land­fill. John Reilly teamed up with Ge­orge and mar­keted the sys­tem to re­finer­ies in SEA.

This was a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion, with sys­tems be­ing sold into Aus­tralia, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, Thai­land, Viet­nam and China, ce­ment­ing Wil­lacy’s rep­u­ta­tion in the oil and gas in­dus­try. Wil­lacy Oil Ser­vices was taken over by Span­ish com­pany Tradebe in 2003.

In 2006 Ge­orge turned his at­ten­tion to waste-to-en­ergy then formed Re­f­gas in 2007 and built and de­vel­oped an ad­vanced biomass gasi­fi­ca­tion plant that was awarded “Project of the Year” from the Bri­tish Sci­ence Mu­seum in 2011. John con­tin­ued mar­ket­ing Re­f­gas in SEA/Aus­tralia.

Re­f­gas was awarded an EU grant to con­struct a 500KW demon­stra­tor mod­ule at the Re­f­gas site in north Wales. Since then the demon­stra­tion fa­cil­ity has been used to test many dif­fer­ent types of fuel and has been vis­ited by hun­dreds of in­ter­ested or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing sev­eral from Aus­tralia.

The demon­stra­tor mod­ule has been re­fined and up­graded over the years, and has be­come the blue­print for the RG1000 gasi­fier, which is Re­f­gas’ stan­dard com­mer­cial mod­ule.

An RG1000 mod­ule re­quires ap­prox­i­mately 8000 tpa of fuel, in the form of woody biomass, to pro­duce 1MW of elec­tric­ity and up to 1.4MW of heat, enough power to feed ~2,000 homes. Many feed­stock types can be utilised, in­clud­ing tim­ber, waste wood from de­mo­li­tion and con­struc­tion, along with a range of biomass crops and sources. Fu­els de­rived from mu­nic­i­pal solid waste will also be ac­cepted in the near fu­ture.

Re­f­gas has just con­structed a 6MW fa­cil­ity for a re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­at­ing sta­tion based at an ex­ist­ing re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity in the south of Eng­land. Hav­ing al­ready been de­liv­ered and in­stalled, this sys­tem is now be­ing com­mis­sioned. Some of the power will be utilised lo­cally while any sur­plus will be ex­ported to the grid. The re­cov­ered heat will be used for dry­ing

ma­te­ri­als pro­cessed by the waste re­cy­cling com­pany, pro­vid­ing more op­tions for re­cov­ery and re­duc­ing costs of dis­posal. The 6MWe fa­cil­ity (which will gen­er­ate nearly 15MW of com­bined heat and power) is near­ing com­ple­tion in Swin­don (UK). The six RG1000 mod­ules for the Swin­don fa­cil­ity were all con­structed at the Re­f­gas HQ and cold tested prior to each be­ing de-mo­bilised into its four ‘ship­ping con­tainer’ frames sec­tions, for trans­port to the client’s site for as­sem­bly.

Ge­orge’s son Paul is project man­ager of the Swin­don de­vel­op­ment and has also taken over as Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor. As Ge­orge said ... “he has put in a mas­sive ef­fort and as I step back he is lead­ing the com­pany.”

A chance meet­ing be­tween Giles Per­ry­man and John Reilly at a waste man­age­ment work­shop vir­tu­ally ce­mented an Aussie con­nec­tion with Re­f­gas.

“John told me about Re­f­gas, and from there I re­searched it fur­ther and vis­ited Re­f­gas’ UK of­fices and demon­stra­tion fa­cil­ity. It struck me that Re­f­gas pro­vides a so­lu­tion to many in­dus­try sec­tors, so, I de­cided to be­come part of the Re­f­gas Aus­tralia team,” said Giles.

With the huge vol­umes of house­hold and in­dus­trial waste pro­duced in Aus­tralia, Re­f­gas’ fo­cus will also in­clude the pro­cess­ing of Refuse De­rived Fuel (RDF).

“As with low grade waste con­struc­tion/de­mo­li­tion wood, Re­f­gas is re­fin­ing its process to en­sure that the prod­uct gas pro­duced meets the high­est en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards. In fact, this syn­gas is proven and ac­cred­ited to be cleaner than nat­u­ral gas,” he said.

Giles ex­plained that the mod­u­lar na­ture, flex­i­bil­ity and scale-up op­por­tu­ni­ties af­forded by the Re­f­gas sys­tem pro­vided a mul­ti­tude of ben­e­fits.

“Re­plac­ing fos­sil fu­els with re­new­able and sus­tain­able so­lu­tions, along with ease of trans­port and as­sem­bly, make this unique prod­uct at­trac­tive for en­er­gy­in­ten­sive in­dus­trial clients, as well as pro­vid­ing scal­able en­ergy so­lu­tions for re­mote and off-grid ar­eas, is­lands and other sit­u­a­tions where ad­di­tional con­tin­u­ous power is re­quired.

“The small site foot­print (25m x 25m for a sin­gle mod­ule, inc the fuel stor­age and han­dling) means a Re­f­gas CHP unit can be in­stalled within ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties. For larger in­stal­la­tions a 3-4MWe plant can be in­stalled on an acre of land. The ideal lo­ca­tion is some­where with a good source of feed­stock and a need for power and heat.”

John said most biomass sources could be used in a Re­f­gas gasi­fier, in­clud­ing wood off-cuts, saw­dust and shred­ded wood. The op­ti­mum mois­ture con­tent is less than 20% and the size and den­sity of the ma­te­rial is an­other fac­tor, re­quir­ing saw­dust and fine/light ma­te­ri­als to be pel­letised or bri­quet­ted prior to be­ing fed into the gasi­fier.

“Re­f­gas can ad­vise on the best meth­ods to process the feed­stock, if this is needed.

“A Re­f­gas sys­tem can be used as a stand-alone power sta­tion to pro­vide CHP to re­mote or is­land com­mu­ni­ties, Al­ter­na­tively, it can be con­nected to the grid for the off-take of any ex­cess power pro­duced. Due to its ease of as­sem­bly, Re­f­gas mod­ules can be used in sit­u­a­tions when a power sup­ply is only re­quired for a num­ber of years, with the mod­ules be­ing moved or re­lo­cated in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to re­quire­ments,” he said.

Swin­don site in­stal­la­tion.

Dur­ing the con­struc­tion at HQ be­fore trans­port to Swin­don.

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