Derek Stuart and Richard Gagg, Global Product Managers at AMETEK Land, look at how bioenergy companies can minimise the risks of spontaneous heating and spontaneous combustion through effective temperature and gas measurements.
Bioenergy Insight, September/October 2016
It's getting hot in here
Biomass is increasingly being used as a fuel for power generation because it is sustainable and has the potential to be carbon-neutral in the medium term. In some cases, biomass is co-fired with coal, but a number of electricity generating units have been converted to run on 100% biomass.
Although they have many desirable characteristics, biomass fuels — such as wood chips and pellets — have a number of properties that make them difficult and potentially dangerous to store and transport. The most serious of these is their susceptibility to spontaneous heating and to spontaneous combustion. Fortunately, a number of techniques are available, which can detect the early stages of spontaneous combustion, allowing the problem to be detected in time to take preventative action and avoid a potentially damaging and costly fire. The best technique depends on the measurement location and the most appropriate choice is the one that best balances the advantages and drawbacks of each technique.