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