Autumn’s Energy Windfalls

Warsaw, Poland 31 October 2012

Every year thousands of tons of leaves need to be swept up and disposed of by district and local park authorities. It’s a costly but necessary business because leaves block drains, paths and roads. Unswept leaves spoil parks, and avenues. But the gasification of leaves reduces public costs and can create much employment. As a source of renewable energy feedstock Autumns Windfalls for the community is truly value added commodity

The Equipment

PowerCan® 200 is built into and operates from a 20ft container. The  PowerCan® 200 is totally movable and as it is plug and play it can be fully operational anywhere it can be transported on the same day. Locating  PowerCan® 200 in the Park rather than transporting leaves and biomass to their extinction has many cost advantages.

PowerCan® 200 can be deployed as a CHP [Combined Heat and Power] unit or the Syngas produced in  PowerCan® 200 can be converted via FT [Fischer Tropsche] into Syndiesel which in turn can be used in any Diesel engine, as well as transported and stored as a liquid fuel. Side by side the  PowerCan® 200 CHP and its FT upgrade unit can work off-the-grid practically in any remote location providing there is feedstock available. Units shipping in 2013 require approximately 20 liters of propane one time only to start up. Once running  PowerCan® 200 is a reliable autonomous power pack a source for electricity and heat with an option to produce Diesel fuels to get you there.

PowerCan® 200 produces 200kWe electricity and 260kWth of heat from 4 tons of feedstock. The 2013-2014 model ships with a low cost downdraft gasification unit which is ideal for both sorted processed MSW and Biomass. PowerCan® 200 performance is determined net of parasitic value which is generally 3-5% of the total energy used depending on the quality of the feedstock.   PowerCan® 200 for Parks and Avenues ships at under 400,000 Euro. As the base price of electricity today is around Euro 0.21c kWh PowerCan as a renewable energy source will deliver around 1000 Euro per day of electricity.  PowerCan® 200 FT could convert approximately 300 liters of Diesel from one ton of leaves. If we assume Diesel is 1 Euro per liter 4 tons of feedstock would produce the equivalent of 1200 Euro per day before parasitic needs of the FT unit or slightly more than the 1000 Euro per day of electrical energy.

Harvesting Leaves

We recommend that two harvest are necessary in the Park and in the Avenue every Autumn but first to get the best yield the grass needs to be cut short at the end of the growing season. Cutting grass short especially along the highway makes collecting leaves and harvesting Autumns Windfalls such as woody biomass so much easier.

Autumns golden leaves demonstrate a low moisture content of below 25% this is not critical for the PowerCan® 200 system where ideal feedstock should contain less than 35% moisture. 4 tons of Autumn Windfalls will produce approximately 1 ton of water. The moisture content of the leaves have a slightly acidic balance and pungent smell.

The residual ash representing the mineral content of Autumn Windfalls would typically be approximately >1% of the original weight. A typical black plastic bag contains approximately 8 kilos of Autumn Windfall which represent the equivalent of approximately 2 Euro per bag. So the 50 or so black plastic bags illustrated above can have an energy value of over 100 Euro.

We illustrated black plastic bags as this is a common packaging, but black, blue, clear or white plastic has no residue in gassification. Plastic is converted into pure Syngas in the PowerCan® 200 process as there are no measurable VOC‘s or NOx in the process [of making leaves and plastic extinct]. Extinction of plastics for Syngas demonstrates the most logical approach to date for the recycling of plastics there is no added embedded energy or CO2 as plastic is made extinct for energy locally

The Rewards

PowerCan® 200 was designed movable and we have always envisaged multiple PowerCan units to be deployed to achieve energy efficiency on smart energy grids of the future. Autumn Windfalls are a short seasonal event with yields on average of 20 kilos of leaves for each tree. Deploying PowerCan® 200 in Public service such as hospitals and schools means doubling the efficiency and income of the  PowerCan® 200 system because all the heat is put to use.

As SOLIDEA Group has demonstrated one  PowerCan® 200 can provide enough heat and electricity for a 13,800m2 hospital after EVE® [Energy Value Engineering]. Using local Autumn Windfalls [of up to 600 bags per day] to top up the feedstock at the local hospital can easily be extended down the highway and in the forest to make some of our facilities far more cost efficient even ZNE [Zero Net Energy].

With a CAPEX of under 400,000 Euro the  PowerCan® 200 demonstrates excellent value in the Park and on the Avenue and with a payback in a straight line possible in one year in Europe in some installations and where tipping fees and subsidized feedstock are readily available.