Utility 101: biomass   


Biomass wood waste
Biomass wood waste.
Avista’s focus on biomass centers on its Kettle Falls, Wash., wood waste burning plant. The term “biomass energy” refers to the organic matter in trees, agricultural crops and other living plant material burned to create energy. Avista’s focus has centered on wood waste of various types.

In Kettle Falls, wood waste, which we call “hog fuel” is fed into a seven-story furnace/boiler and burned, creating heat. The walls of the furnace/boiler consist of pipes filled with water that are heated by the burning hog fuel. The optimal burning temperature is 2,000 degrees, resulting in a steam temperature of 950 degrees. The heated water generates stream and pressure that drives a turbine, which turns a generator, creating electricity.

The plant can generate about 53 megawatts from biomass alone – 61 megawatts combined with a natural gas-fired turbine at the plant. This is enough electricity to power 46,000 homes.

Earlier this month we announced that Avista is testing a biofuel (biodiesel) in some its trucks in an effort to green its fleet. This fuel is made from oil crushed from Washington-grown canola seeds and is not the same stuff burned in our power plant in Kettle Falls.

The Kettle Falls Generating Station is an intricate plant with many interesting machines and processes. For a closer look at what the plant looks like, please view this online slideshow with captions included.
Posted by  System Account  on  9/23/2009
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