Thenergo to build biofuel energy plant

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Thenergo, a developer of combined heat and power (CHP) energy systems, has commenced development of a 9MWe CHP bio-oil to energy plant in Merksplas, Belgium.

Thenergo claims the ‘Greenpower’ project will be operational for up to 8,000 hours per year, or approximately 11 months of the year, generating 6MWth of heat for two industrial partners, and 9MWe of electricity for the equivalent of 20,000 households.

The project represents a total investment of €11m and is expected to be operational in February 2009. Greenpower is a joint venture between Thenergo, the majority shareholder and operator, and the Quirynen and the Dielis families.

Greenpower will run on bio-oil extracted from the nuts of the jatropha plant. The jatropha nut is a non-edible fruit grown on semi-arid or wasteland in south east Asia. For the past five years Leysen, a Thenergo company, has been researching the sustainable energy potential of jatropha, from cultivation to logistics, to ensure minimal loss of primary energy during production and transportation.

‘The Greenpower bio-oil project is a prime example of Thenergo's multi-fuel approach to the production of sustainable energy,’ said Kurt Alen, CEO of Thenergo. ‘Our strategy to diversify our feedstock base, namely biogas, natural gas, bio-oil, woody biomass and secondary fuels, ensures long term procurement security and better management of fuel costs, while allowing us to be more reactive to market driven opportunities.’