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Bioenergy: naturally renewable

Photograph of a biomass plant

In the industrial sector and beyond, sustainable development has become a major concern. Burning biomass is a carbon-neutral way of producing energy. This is because trees, through photosynthesis, can capture and absorb the CO2 that is released during fuel combustion.

Reusing residue

Largely produced by nature, biomass is a virtually inexhaustible source of fuel. Whereas fossil fuels such as coal and gas have formed over several hundred million years, the fastest-growing biomass resources, such as sugar cane, can grow in a matter of months.

Bioenergy is the world’s second largest source of renewable energy.  With over 2,650 MWe of global installed capacity for bioenergy plants, AREVA is a leader in the market. Its activities cover the design and construction of carbon-neutral biomass and biogas plants.

AREVA’s bioenergy plants can burn many types of commonplace residue, including:

  • bagasse (sugar cane fiber),
  • rice husks and chaff,
  • wood (chips, bark and sawdust),
  • straw,
  • EFB (Empty Fruit Bunch resulting from the oil palm industry).

The most common of these types of residue are bagasse, rice husks and wood chips.
The 120 million metric tons of rice residue that is left unused globally each year could be converted into 15,000 MWe of electricity.

A viable alternative

The Bioenergy BU is an industrial pioneer in the development of power engineering solutions with a strong focus on biomass technology. With a global historical contribution of 5.1 GWe, it encompasses more than 100 biomass power plants in Europe, South America and Asia and a total of 2.5 GWe of installed electricity production capacity. The BU plans to maintain its position as a leading supplier of turnkey power plants and balance of plant solutions in its target markets:

  • sugarcane residue and hydroelectricity in Latin America (notably Brazil);
  • solid biomass in Europe;
  • complex and mixed biomass in Asia (wheat and rice straw, palm stalks, coconut shells).

In addition, the BU is developing its own FlexBio combustion solution for complex biomass. In particular, the FlexBio technology is a combustion solution developed by AREVA for complex biomass, which is abundant on the markets of India and Southeast Asia.

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Bioenergy activities brochure

AREVA provides integrated solutions for bioenergy power plants. The group’s services range from design to commissioning including Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC).

Developing biomass potential

AREVA is an established engineering expert in the bioenergy market. Today, it is focusing its R&D activities on finding innovative ways to use biomasses that are difficult to burn (straw, poultry litter, empty fruit bunch, etc.).
In addition, AREVA Bioenergy is designing dedicated plants with the capacity to burn several types of biomass together.

Spotlight on the benefits of biomass

  • Provides ways to profit from otherwise unused organic matter
  • Is CO2-neutral and avoids production of methane during the natural decomposition process of vegetal residues
  • Creates jobs in rural areas, both directly and indirectly through biomass collection, within an approximately 50-kilometer radius of the plant
  • Can be comprised of several types of fuel with AREVA mixed fuel design, ensuring that operations can continue outside of collection periods
  • Is connected to the local power grid or to an industrial facility to supply electricity and possibly heat in cogeneration

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