Electrical solution for biomass energy

Jon Lawson

One of the leading manufacturers of motor an drive technology, WEG, has designed and installed an electrical solution for biomass energy generation at a major sugarcane processing mill in Mexico.

As the first cogeneration project in the country, the scheme reuses sugarcane bagasse as a renewable energy resource to generate nearly 155GWh of electricity per year, which would be enough to supply around 28,000 homes with power for 12 months.

Located in Tres Valles city, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, Tres Valles mill, which is part of the PIASA group, has a daily capacity of processing more than 12 tons of sugarcane. Since 2010, it has used a renewable energy source by reusing sugarcane bagasse, simultaneously generating electricity and thermal energy (steam). This energy is used in the average production of 1,500 tons of sugar per day.

With the electrical package installation designed and supplied by WEG, the plant has now began to generate enough power to redirect excess energy to other companies of the group and, potentially, even supply the electrical grid.

WEG’s complete electrical package for Tres Valles comprises a SPW1250 generator (50,000KVA, 13.8KV, four poles, 60Hz), control panel, measurement and generator protection, control centres for medium and low-voltage motors, medium-voltage drives, a medium-voltage soft-starter, and a substation and transmission line. The company also provided Tres Valles with all necessary commissioning and startup services.

While replacing equipment that had completed over 35 years of service, WEG’s electrical installation has brought many other benefits to the Tres Valles mill. Production costs have been greatly reduced by facilitating the replacement of fossil fuel with bagasse biofuel to generate electricity, along with huge reductions in environmental impact. Carbon dioxide emissions of over 3.6 million tons annually – comparable to that from 70,000 cars - have been eliminated while increasing throughputs for grinding and sugar preparation.

Recent Issues