Second Burkhardt biomass power plant in Switzerland

Furniture factory chooses wood pellets for power generation

Located in Muotathal, in the canton of Schwyz, Switzerland, is the company ag. Founded in 1910, the family business now specialises in the processing of solid wood for the furniture industry. In this traditional company, environmental protection and sustainability are not just concepts on paper, they are a part of business life: since the early 90s, for example, the factory has supplied heat to neighbouring residential and business premises via a 6.6-km heat distribution network. The heat is produced by burning all the wood residues from production in three boilers.

Producing electricity from wood

True to its own raw material, the Muotathal company has long had its eye on wood gasification technology. The von Rickenbach family was ultimately convinced by Burkhardt that the wood pellet gasifier V3.90 with the combined heat and power unit ECO 165 HG was the best choice. At the same time, the existing heat distribution network was extended and a 100-m³ water storage unit was built to buffer the heat. With the expansion of the energy business, the objective is to diversify and make it more independent of the core business.

The Burkhardt wood gasification technology

In the reactor of the wood gasifier, various processes convert the pellets into a combustible gas, known as wood gas. This is then scrubbed, cooled and fed to the combined heat and power unit. The wood gas is burned in the engine, which drives a generator to produce electricity.

As in all combustion processes, the combined heat and power unit also produces small proportions of harmful substances, which must be reduced. This takes place in an oxidation catalyser. To meet the strict requirements on oxides of nitrogen emissions from the plant in Muotathal, an SCR catalyser was also required. In "selective catalytic reduction", a urea solution is injected into the exhaust gas ahead of the special catalyser elements and the oxides of nitrogen are converted to harmless gases.

Burkhardt wood gas generator and CHP unit in the new boiler house of agView from the roof with wood gasifier flare and chimney in the foregroundExterior view of ag

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