Cardoon plantation for co-firing with lignite
Topic of the practice
Good Practice Information
The origin of the idea of co-firing goes back to the Regional Innovation Pole of Western Macedonia, where the discussion for the future of the electric production in the Region passed to more renewable resources and the idea of co-firing was generated. During the Pole, co-firing with olive core was successfully practiced, which was folloewd by co-firing of other resources, mainly of lignocellulosic nature. In the cardoon co-firing, the Public Power Corporation provided the power stations, the Local Development Fund provided the necessary funds and the Regional Development Agency made the relevant Call and organised the farmers that cultivated cardoon. The Regional Development Agency of West Macedonia SA (ANKO) was responsible for the co-ordination and management of the pilot program “Development of alternative activities by producing biomass”, which was implemented on behalf of the Municipal Prefecture of Kozani as part of the Special Development Program 2007-2011 in cooperation with the Public Power Corporation (PPC). The main beneficiaries from participation in the program were local farmers. In order to measure interest on the farmers’ side, two procurements have been launched, out of which 4,000 acres were chosen as eligible for cultivation. Finally, 44 contracts have been signed for cultivating a total of 1,800 acres, as well as 36 contracts for cultivating 2,200 acres within the period July – September of 2009. A pilot combustion of 50 tons of dried cardoon biomass took place in November 2009 in the facilities of PPC in Kardia. At the same time, 5 tons of dried biomass was sent for laboratory pilot combustion in appropriate facilities in Germany. The cultivation of 4,000 acres of the plant delivered approximately 1,600 tons of dried biomass in September 2010. A mixed combustion of cardoon and lignite at a percentage of 4% took place in October 2010 in the facilities of PPC in Kardia with positive results. In parallel, PPC committed to absorb the next year’s dried biomass production. Framers were funded from the program for a total of €200 per acre for cardoon cultivation. This amount was granted to cover the initial plantation as well as the first and the second year’s operating expenses, such as cropping, harvesting and transferring the dried biomass to the PPC facilities. Furthermore, PPC remunerated the farmers as much as €51 per ton for buying the dried biomass.
Evidence of success
The pilot co-firing was quite successful in terms of co-firing conditions, it proved that up to 10% of cardoon can be smoothly mixed with lignite and co-fired in the existing power stations without any significant technical problem. The whole experiment also demonstrated the need for stronger awareness raising campaigns in the future, in order to mobilise the local society in favour of this new perspective for the regional economy.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
University of Western Macedonia