Slovenské elektrárne sets out on the green path

Four years ago, the European Union adopted its so-called climate and energy package, which required member states, including Slovakia, to increase the share of energy they produce from renewable sources within the energy mix.

Four years ago, the European Union adopted its so-called climate and energy package, which required member states, including Slovakia, to increase the share of energy they produce from renewable sources within the energy mix.

Slovenské elektrárne (SE), the operator of two nuclear, two thermal, and 34 hydro power plants, is systematically heading towards fulfilment of its pledge to produce energy in an ecological way and to contribute to environmental protection. Within its production portfolio and its socially responsibility activities, SE has become an active player in the renewable-resources market.
What contributes to this position is – along with its modernisation as an energy producer and operator – the introduction of a project for co-combustion of biomass at the Vojany Thermal Power Plant and its launch at the Nováky Thermal Power Plant, resulting in a marked reduction in the share of carbon dioxide emitted into the air.

Directors of both plants, Ing. Ondrej Marcinčák and Ing. Milan Bugár, offer more detailed information.

Ing. Ondrej Marcinčák – Director of Vojany Thermal Power Plant

How do you perceive the positive aspects of the biomass combustion project?
This project can be evaluated from several viewpoints. The primary one is the production of power from a renewable source of energy which contributes to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, it is a chance for the region to use its surplus sources of wood and wood cut offs or, by targeted growing of biomass, to use part of the soil that is currently unused, which will provide a real chance to increase employment in our region.
Thanks to the share of biomass, you saved more carbon dioxide than you originally planned. Are you satisfied with this result?
Our original goal was to combust 4 percent of the thermal output, but we manage to increase this share to 5 percent. Through this increase of the share of biomass, we managed to save 20 percent more CO2 than we originally planned. I consider these results to be very good.
What positives has the introduction of biomass brought to the region around the Vojany plant?
Currently most of the biomass is supplied by the Štátne lesy SR (Slovak State Forests) company, but potential local suppliers have contacted us already, too. They are interested not only in delivering biomass from production forests but also in growing biomass. I believe that fulfilling these intentions of theirs, which have SE's support of course, can bring increased use of currently fallow soil in the future, and – as I already mentioned – also increase employment in this region.
Do you count on increasing the volume of biomass used at Vojany in the future?
As early as next year we foresee the implementation of the second phase of the project Biomasa that will increase the volume of power produced from this renewable source to 9.1 percent of thermal output.

Ing. Milan Bugár – Director of Nováky Thermal Power Plant

In what phase is the project to introduce biomass co-combustion at the Nováky Thermal Power Plant?
In Nováky we implemented a two-week co-combustion test of concurrent coal and biomass combustion as early as 2005. We brought the woodchips to the plant by trucks. Through collection points at the dump, we transported biomass to the fluid boiler reservoirs. During the test, we found that the optimum share of chips is around 10 to 20 percent, to preserve the homogenization of the mix.
In May 2010 a new test took place, to evaluate technological conditions for unloading and transporting the chips from a deep-set reservoir. We did this by using a pre-existing device in order to find out whether technological adjustments would be needed during the import of chips which are carried in bulk in railway carriages.
Now that these operational tests have been conducted and problems solved – among which the problem of woodchips not sticking to the required granulometry proved to be the most pressing – we are preparing for the full-time co-combustion of biomass together with coal in a fluid boiler, beginning in 2011.

Thank you for the interview.

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