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Heating plant benefits from demand-driven operation with intelligent buffer management system

Wood gasifiers are usually operated on a current-controlled basis. But even heat-controlled operation is possible when Spanner Re² biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) units are linked with an intelligent buffer management system. The two complementary systems operate when heat is required and if there is excess heat, the wood gasifier switches itself off or reduces its output.

View into the boiler room in Furth, Germany where the two woodchip-fired Spanner Re² gasification combined heat and power (CHP) units are installed. The heat generated from woodchips is fed into the local heating network of the adjoining biomass heating plant, the electricity is fed into the power grid (photo courtesy Spanner Re²).

Since 2012, two wood gasifiers from the plant manufacturer Spanner Re² GmbH in Furth near Landshut have been in operation. The systems, which are connected in cascade and can be operated both in parallel and independently of each other, supply heat energy to a biomass heating plant when consumers need it.

The flexible buffer management system of Spanner Re²’s biomass combined heat and power (CHP) units has proven its worth. Especially in the summer months when the heat demand is falling and peak loads in the local heating network occur in the morning and evening.

A system with a thermal output of approximately 102 kWth continuously covers the base load of the local heating network. The second wood gasifier adjusts the output to the required heat demand and throttles the plant output if necessary. Around 150 to 200 kWth is required in the summer months, with strong fluctuations in demand.

As a result, the heating plant boiler with an output of 800 kWth is not in operation during the summer. Low partial load operation in combination with peak demand can have a negative effect on the service life of a large heating plant. The use of flexible wood gasifiers from Spanner Re² protects the boiler technology of the large plant.

The energy generation with the wood gasifier plants from Spanner Re² is fully automated and according to demand. The plant is fueled with woodchips from the region which means fossil resources can be replaced sustainably. In addition, the wood chip industry creates jobs in the region and strengthens the economy.

Spanner Re² wood gasifiers have a modular design and are particularly flexible in operation,” says Wolfgang Pöltl, former plant manager.

The needs-based operation of the plants is controlled by special software developed and continuously expanded by the Lower Bavarian plant manufacturer itself. Electricity is fed into the grid Unlike a conventional biomass heating plant, a wood gasifier from Spanner Re² not only generates heat from woodchips but also electricity.

The two wood-fired power plants in Furth each have an electrical output of 45 kWe. With around 7 000 operating hours annually, this is over 600 MWh of electricity, which is generated every year and fed into the public grid. The electricity fed into the grid is remunerated in accordance with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

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