Erlangen, Germany, June 8, 2010 — Siemens Energy has successfully completed the first firing of PetroAlgae Inc.’s biocrude fuel, a plant-based, micro-crop biomass material that is processed into a solid residue.
The biocrude fuel was combined with pulverized coal in a pilot-scale burner with a thermal capacity of about 4 MBtu/hr.
The testing was performed at a test bed installed at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, and results show that the biocrude/coal fuel mixture burned well, and produced 20 percent lower nitric oxide emissions than coal alone.
In the pilot-scale test, which was conducted in a scaled-down version of Siemens‘ current pulverized coal burner design, the biocrude was blown into the fuel injector separately from the pulverized coal.
Some mixing of the pulverized coal and biocrude took place within the fuel injector prior to combustion of the mixture. Up to 10 percent of the total heating value was provided by the biomass in these tests.
The testing showed that the biocrude was easy to handle and inject into the burner, unlike some other biomass fuels. The fuel burned well and emissions testing showed that the biomass/coal fuel mixture produced lower NOx emissions than coal alone.
Tests were conducted with and without external air staging. The biomass and coal mixture produced lower emissions with staging than without, as expected. Siemens intends to conduct further tests of the pilot-scale burner with increased quantities of PetroAlgae’s biocrude fuel in the near future.
PetroAlgae’s technology is designed to increase the growth and productivity of micro-crops in large-scale, open-pond bioreactors, thereby creating a biofuel of commercial value.
The micro-crops absorb about twice their weight in CO2, and are harvested every few hours producing two products — a high-quality protein and a carbohydrate-rich biomass material that can be used for both co-firing in coal-fired power plants and as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based fossil fuels.
“We are very excited to be working with Siemens to validate the commercial viability of our micro-crop biomass as a renewable drop-in offset in coal-fired power plants and boilers,” said Dr. John Scott, Chairman and CEO of PetroAlgae Inc. “These tests show that our biomass has great promise as a clean and environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels such as coal, and our ability to produce this material at commercial scale gives me great confidence in the future.”