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Successful startup of TEOPOWER in Colombia

TEOPOWER, the solution for transforming biomass waste into 100 per cent clean electricity, is now in operation at SuperBrix’s demo plant in Barranquilla, Colombia.

A problem solving solution 

Just ten months have passed since the first meeting was held between Viking Heat Engines and SuperBrix, a leading manufacturer of milling and grain-processing solutions, to the startup of TEOPOWER. The quick turnaround comes down to the positive attributes of the two technologies, according to Dirk Nuber, CEO of Viking Heat Engines in the Caribbean.

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“From the very start, I saw very few – if any – complications in marrying the two relatively simple technologies,” he says. “The result is an outstanding yet simple technology that will solve a lot of problems relating to biomass waste and the lack of power in rural areas.”

A perfect match

Nuber met SuperBrix for the first time just before Christmas 2015. The meeting was the start of an exciting new venture for both companies: Viking had been looking for the technology to feed its Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) engine – the CraftEngine – with heat from biomass combustion, and SuperBrix was looking for a solution that could produce power from its well-established biomass furnace, the TEO furnace, used by rice and corn millers around the world.

“TEOPOWER is a huge success story because before this, there was no technology on the market that allowed SuperBrix to produce power from a relatively small biomass furnace,” Nuber says. “At the same time, there was no technology that could produce heat from biomass in an economically feasible way at the relatively small scale that we required.”

Technologies with unique characteristics

Nuber explains that while there are other solutions on the market, both the CraftEngine and TEO furnace have certain unique characteristics that set them apart.

“Our CraftEngine is built using standard parts from the automotive industry,” he says. “It’s a piston engine just like any piston engine found in any type of car on the planet, which means it is much cheaper to install, more flexible to operate and virtually maintenance free.”

The TEO furnace is a highly efficient and compact cyclonic burner that produces clean hot waste gas. Unlike a conventional biomass boiler, the burner is separated from the heat exchanger that feeds the CraftEngine, which makes TEOPOWER more flexible, simpler to produce and easier to operate.

Cheapest solution for producing energy

Viking and SuperBrix have already started selling the TEOPOWER solution to rice millers in some parts of South America, including Colombia, Guyana and Peru, and are looking at other markets where the price of electricity is high and there is an urgent need for solutions such as the TEOPOWER.

According to Nuber, South Africa is an example where the government has started to clamp down on the piles of sawdust created by saw mills.

“In South Africa, the cost of biomass boilers are about two or three times more expensive than SuperBrix’s,” he says. “So, not only do we have a biomass boiler that is more economically feasible than other boilers on the market, but we also have an ORC engine that is both affordable and easy to operate. I’d say that – at our scale from 40-400kW – our TEOPOWER solution is probably the most economical way to produce energy from biomass on the market right now.”

Visit our TEOPOWER page to learn more.

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