Biomass Storage Monitoring, Part I: Market survey and field study on continuous monitoring of large biomass storages

Project Number 385

Biological and chemical reactions generate heat during storage of biomass. Due to the isolating properties of the material the generated heat cannot be dissipated and is accumulated. This may lead, under unfavourable condition, to self-ignition. The larger the amount of stored biomass, the higher is the risk of self-ignition.

Recommendations given in the VGB-Standard VGB-S-018-00-2013-12 regarding fire and explosion protection in biomass power plants to monitor biomass storages and locate hot-spots and smouldering fires are difficult to implement and not practical in larger storages (≥ 20m H x 100m L).

In any case a continuous and comprehensive monitoring of the biomass under consideration of the requirements of daily power plant operation is needed. Currently there is no technology available that fully satisfies these requirements.
Therefore a market survey will be done regarding available technology for biomass storage monitoring taking into account former studies on this topic. The main focus will lie on the European market as the US and UK markets have already been investigated. The US and UK market studies are available and the results will be implemented in this project. The market study will be done within and financed by the Fraunhofer UMSICHT Innovation cluster Bioenergy.

Subsequently a field study, financed by VGB, will be done within this project. A profile of requirements based on expert interviews with plant operators will be created and used for evaluation of the available systems. The expert interviews will be complemented by site visits to ensure practical relevance and applicability. The best systems will be identified and investigated in more detail. The final results will be summarized in a data sheet compilation.

A follow-up project is intended to develop recommendations regarding operation and equipment for different types of biomass storage facilities. The data sheet compilation and the results of the follow-up project will be implemented into VGB-Standard VGB-S-018-00-2013-12.

The project is supervised by the VGB Technical Group Biomass.