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ZE PAK selects Valmet to convert lignite-fired boiler to biomass

Poland's largest privately-owned energy group, Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin S.A. (ZE PAK) has selected Valmet Technologies Oy for a “turnkey” design and conversion of its K-7 lignite-fired boiler into a biomass-fired bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) boiler at its Konin Power Plant in Konin. The modernized 50 MWe system will generate electricity and act as a backup for the existing 50 MWe biomass combined heat and power unit at the plant which also supplies the city of Konin with heat.

Poland’s largest privately-owned energy group, Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin S.A. (ZE PAK) has selected Valmet Technologies Oy for a “turnkey” design and conversion of its K-7 lignite-fired boiler into a biomass-fired bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) boiler at its Konin Power Plant in Konin (photo courtesy ZE PAK).

Originally commissioned in 1958, the Konin Power Plant is the oldest operational brown-coal (lignite) fired power plant in Poland and in the ZE PAK Capital Group portfolio. The Group is the fourth largest power generator in Poland and consists of vertically integrated entities operating in the field of lignite mining, energy production from conventional and renewable sources, and energy trading.

Part of a modernization project

The current installed capacity at the Konin Power Plant is 212 MWth and 198 MWe and it also supplies district heat to the city of Konin and the surrounding areas.

In 2010 ZE PAK launched the Konin Power Plant Modernization Project. The aim of the project is to prepare the production base of ZE PAK for long-term operation, to ready the plant for future, stricter environmental standards, and to maintain its production potential.

In 2012 the company commissioned a dedicated 154 MWth and 50 MWe biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) unit.

In 2012 ZE PAK commissioned a dedicated 154 MWth and 50 MWe biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) unit at its Konin Power Plant. A circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler supplied by Foster Wheeler (now Sumitomo SHI FW), it runs on a blend of woodchips, forest residuals, short-rotation coppice (SRC) and agricultural residues (photo courtesy ZE PAK).

The conversion of the K-7 lignite-fired boiler to run on biomass is a continuation of the plant’s refurbishment and renewable upgrade programme. According to the company, the investment is the “main element of the entire transition project”.

Once the modernization of the K-7 boiler has been completed in late 2022, the Konin Power Plant will have a total biomass power generation capacity of approximately 100 MWe (2×50 MWe).

The reconstruction of the K-7 boiler is the main element of our transition project from fossil-based energy to renewable energy production. Converting the existing boiler from coal into biomass combustion is a very cost-effective way for us to carry out this energy transition. The investment will enable Konin to be the first Polish city that is heated with energy originating exclusively from renewable sources, said Zygmunt Artwik, Vice President, ZE PAK.

Convert to BFB technology

Valmet’s delivery scope includes the conversion of the existing lignite-fired boiler into a biomass-fired boiler utilizing bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) technology. Additionally, Valmet will supply a selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) solution to lower NOx emissions as well as modernize the plant’s instrumentation and electrification systems.

This project represents the current need for renewable energy solutions in the energy markets at times when coal-fired plants are forced to shut down. Existing coal-fired boilers can be modified to combust biomass and other renewable fuels, providing a better alternative to shutting a plant down. Additionally, conversion projects have a shorter project duration than building totally new plants, said Jouko Kylänpää, Director, Boiler Rebuilds and Conversions, Pulp and Energy business line, Valmet.

The value of the order for Valmet is PLN 89.8 million (≈EUR 19.7 million) with the converted boiler plant to be handed over to the customer in the autumn of 2021. ZE PAK has landed a 17-year contract for green electricity on the capacity market starting from 2024.

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