Green energy for power
Biomass power plants are one source of green electricity. Our conventional power plants at Awirs (Flémalle) and Rodenhuize are solely powered by biomass (e.g. wood pellets) to generate electricity. These power plants, which were previously fuelled by coal, have been turned into units wholly run on biomass.
Our biomass power plants
Max Green: 100% biomass
The Max Green biomass power plant in Rodenhuize has a biomass capacity of 205 MW and is one of Belgium’s largest green electricity generation facilities. It can generate between 1.1 and 1.2 TWh of green energy every year, which is equal to the volume of electricity consumed by 320,000 households.Brochure Max Green (in French)
A verification procedure guarantees the sustainability of the biomass.ENGIE Lab plays a prominent role in the biomass certification
Les Awirs: 100% biomass
The Awirs biomass power plant has a capacity of 80 MW and can generate 600 GWh a year, equal to the electricity consumed by 175,000 households.Brochure Awirs (in French)
A sustainable fuel
The combustion of biomass is considered to be CO2 neutral. The quantity of CO2 released into the atmosphere during combustion is equal to that which biomass took from the air while it grew.
A verification procedure has been created together with ENGIE Lab, ENGIE Electrabel’s centre of expertise for research and development, with a view to guaranteeing the sustainability of the biomass used. The various steps in the biomass supply chain were investigated taking into account sustainability criteria, including:
- forest management and the production process
- compliance with legislation
- energy consumption and CO2 emissions during the production and transport of the biomass
- traceability from the source up to delivery to the power plant
The procedure has been approved by the Flemish and Walloon authorities and is controlled by an independent control body.
Biomass power plants: stable and reliable facilities
Belgium’s geographic, climatological and urban nature restricts the development of hydraulic, wind and solar energies, so biomass plays a major role in this regard. Generating electricity using biomass power plants is stable and extremely predictable to the extent that these power plants may be used as base loading units.
Biomass plays a key role in ENGIE Electrabel’s green energy mix. 50% of our green energy capacity is generated by this CO2-neutral source of energy.
How does it work?
- We receive the pellets by boat and store them in huge silos.
- They are then taken to the hammer mills, which crush the pellets to wood dust.
- This is then transported along a pneumatic belt to fuel the boiler.
- The heat of the flames is collected by pipes. The water running in these pipes is turned into steam.
- This pressurised steam powers a steam turbine and a generator coupled to the turbine generates electricity.
There exist other methods to generate electricity from biomass:
- Inject wood dust into pulverized coal ducts and burn it along with the coal or on its own
- Convert biomass in biogas (for example by gasification of wood chips in a wood gasifier)
- Pulverize biomass together with coal and blown the whole in the boiler
Did you know: burning biomass is CO2 neutral. It only releases into the atmosphere the carbon dioxide stored during the growth of the vegetation.