Biomass is a relatively scarce resource, and in switching from a fossil to bio based fuel and chemical industry, the focus is on high efficiency and high recovery rates of pre-used materials. Unlike the petrochemical industry, each source of biomass is relatively small, and there is a great variety of materials. Each market is therefore niche, requiring a specific set of technologies adapted to its needs. Longma has developed processing techniques for oleochemicals, with broader application to the emerging algae industries.
Generating power from biofuels using diesel generators is superior to generation from other types of renewable energy. It is independent of the weather, and can be produced according to demand. The power does not decrease if the wind drops or at night, and if no power is required, it can simply be switched off. This ability to control the output makes biofuel generation distinct from variable-output renewable sources: it is a flexible-response form of renewable energy. It is a tailor-made solution for niche applications such as off-grid installations or reserve power.
At Longma we have been generating renewable power using recycled vegetable oil since 2006. Our systems have benefited from a program of research and development (supported by the Carbon Trust) into modifications and operating regimes for engines, fuel processing, and control systems. We currently have a 400 kW CHP installation which, as well as providing electricity, process heating, and space heating for our offices and neighbouring units, is used to as operational reserve for National Grid. Any excess electricity produced is sold to suppliers New Energy.
Generation such as ours connected to the local high voltage system is known as embedded generation. The electricity is produced and used in the same location, avoiding the energy losses that are incurred through the transmission of electricity over long distances – typically over 8%. In addition to this increased efficiency, the fuel used is carbon neutral and the heat produced displaces fossil fuels that would otherwise be used for heating. We are experts in this unique form of generation and through our ongoing research are exploring original ways to apply this on-demand clean energy resource. For recent projects www.noriker.co.uk
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