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Chinese biomass heating boom

Since the China State Council issued the Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution in 2013, efforts are being stepped up to replace small coal-fired boilers with alternative sources such as biomass. Huzhou Huanqing Environmental Technology Co., Ltd is one boiler maker seeking to leverage these efforts.

The market for biomass heating is booming in China with an estimated 420 000 small and medium sized coal-fired boilers needing replacement. The China State Council Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution issued in 2013 shows clear advantages in controlling air pollution, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and developing the rural economy.

50 million tonnes 2020

The National Energy Administration (NEA) also set a target to build 120 biomass heating demonstration projects during 2014-2015 with a total investment of about CNY 5 billion (≈EUR 0.7 billion). To date, there are more than 200 biomass heating projects across the country. The largest installation consumes 80 tonnes per hour.

Furthermore, in the 13th five-year development plan for biomass energy, the NEA is going to set a more ambitious target, to use 50 million tonnes of wood pellets and biomass briquettes by 2020. More biomass heating projects and increased turnover for technology companies are expected in the coming years.

Fire in the hole - testing a 10 tonne per hour biomass burner from Huzhou Huanqing Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. Guande Li, Managing Director.

Fire in the hole – testing a 10 tonne per hour biomass burner from Huzhou Huanqing Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. Guande Li, Managing Director.

One company seeking to leverage on this market development is Huzhou Huanqing Environmental Technology Co., Ltd,  a leading biomass heating company. Based in Huzhou City, Zhejiang province, which is part of Yangtze River Delta region, it is dedicated to the manufacture of agricultural, forestry and municipal waste equipment. The company is owned by Guande Li, whose family has over 100 years of experience in the charcoal making business through the company Huzhou Fusheng Charcoal Co., Ltd (Fusheng). Li has also been devoted to charcoal equipment research and development for over 20 years. Li and his companies have earned a solid reputation for quality and service with clients in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia.

Adapted gasification

The company’s gasification burner was developed over three years from Fusheng’s charcoal making technology. With its unique semi-gasification and double combustion chamber design, the burner can increase thermal efficiency by 10-15 percent and meet air pollutant emission standards more easily, compared to other products on the market. It was selected for the National Low-carbon Technology Promotion Directory 2015, which means the technology is promoted by China’s central government.

In the first combustion chamber the wood pellet is floating in the airflow, semi-gasified and semi-burning. The fire temperature increases to 800-1000 °C, then the hot gas is injected into the second combustion chamber with supplemented oxygen for further burning. The fire in the second combustion chamber reaches 1200-1300 °C through thermal storage. To keep the second combustion chamber at a constant high temperature and avoid coking, it is covered by a special refractory.

The starting time for this burner is less than 8 minutes and thermal efficiency is over 90 percent. The dust and sulphur dioxide (SO₂) emissions are below 20 mg per m³ and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are below 200 mg per m³. This means it meets China’s boiler exhaust emission standards. Currently the burner technology is used in over 10 projects across China, all of which have been running smoothly since commissioning. Guande Li expects to supply many more over the coming years.

Text & photos: Xinyi Shen

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