NRG Energy Services LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., will restart the Aspen Power biomass plant in Lufkin, Texas, which has been shut down since fall 2012, as well as operate and maintain the facility once online to provide clean, renewable power for the Texas market. The plant, which first began operation in August 2011 as the first wood-based biomass power plant in the state, is overseen by InventivEnergy, a clean energy consulting and asset management firm.
“The Aspen Power facility was shut down in the fall of 2012 due to market economics. Since then, our projections show an attractive opportunity for the plant to resume operations and provide competitively-priced clean energy to the Texas market,” said John R. Keller, CEO and founder of InventivEnergy.
The Lufkin plant uses direct-fired processes, which are similar to most fossil fuel-fired power plants but with lower emissions. The biomass fuel in a direct-fired system is burned in a boiler to produce high-pressure steam, which is then piped into a steam turbine, where it flows over a series of aerodynamic blades, causing the turbine to rotate. The turbine is connected to an electric generator, which produces electricity.
The Aspen power plant has the capacity to deliver approximately 50 MW to the grid and uses locally sourced clean wood-waste biomass as its fuel supply, utilizing a stoker type boiler with particulate emissions abatement and selective catalytic reduction for NOx control. The plant can consume about 525,000 tons of logging debris and municipal wood waste per year. It was the first major wood biomass power plant in the state.
Commercial operations are expected to by late July 2014.