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ElectraTherm commissions its first Californian waste heat to power ORC

ElectraTherm Inc, a US-based developer and manufacturer of distributed, waste heat to power (WHP) generation using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology has announced that it has commissioned its first Power+ Generator in California to generate "fuel-free" power from a biomass boiler. The ORC unit is part of a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant for combined heat and power (CHP)/prime power generation from biomass.

ElectraTherm has commissioned its first Power+ Generator in California to generate fuel-free power from a biomass boiler. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) unit is part of a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant for combined heat and power (CHP)/prime power generation from biomass (photo courtesy ElectraTherm).

A partnership between Wisewood Energy and the Sierra Institute developed the plant and site so that a biomass boiler will provide heat to the Plumas County Health and Humans Services building in Quincy, California. By incorporating ORC technology seasonally when heat demand for buildings is available, the plant will also generate electricity to offset the power consumed onsite.

At the site, a biomass boiler consumes locally-sourced forest cleanup and logging waste. The Power+ ORC unit utilizes hot water as its “fuel” to create electricity and balances out the building thermal demands by adding 24/7 heat to power capability. It can vary from prime power mode when building thermal demand is minimal or CHP mode when the building thermal demand is highest.

The commissioning of this project marks ElectraTherm’s 23rd biomass application in its fleet of nearly 70 units and ElectraTherm’s first machine in California. ElectraTherm’s other biomass sites include Oregon, Florida and Maryland in the US as well as in the UK and Italy.

It is great to see the utilization of the vast amounts of renewable biomass available in certain regions in the US and across the globe. Biomass offers a 24/7 renewable energy source for combined heat and power (CHP) and boiler sites just like this one in Plumas County. I congratulate the CEC for their vision and support for such a project, said John Fox, Managing Director of ElectraTherm.

In addition to biomass, ElectraTherm says that it sees strong potential in the US. and around the globe for combined heat and power applications, flared sewage gas in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), methane flaring in the oil and gas industry, and micro geothermal opportunities. According to the company, its Power+ fleet operates in 10 countries and has surpassed 900 000 hours of runtime.

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