PNG Biomass project taking shape

Oil Search’s PNG Biomass project in the Markham Valley, Morobe Province, is steadily taking shape.

Basically the project aims to create electricity out of steam from wood.

On Tuesday the company released a snapshot of what its power generation plant will look like.

“The power plant’s generation capacity will be provided by two 15 megawatt electric (MWe) power plant units, comprised of 2x18 MW steam boilers and 2x18 MW steam turbines.

“Each 18MW boiler unit will be about 34 metres tall and will use stoker-grate technology, which is a robust design suitable for PNG conditions,” said OSL.

“Each boiler will provide enough steam for an 18MW steam turbine, this is about 75 tons of steam per hour at a high pressure of 1300psig (pound-force per square inch gauge) and temperature 500 degrees Celsius.

“Each 18MW boiler will consume up to 20 bone dry metric tons per hour of wood as fuel – about two truckloads of wet wood.

“The power plant will keep several months of fuel on site to ensure continuous power supply.

“While the output from the steam turbine generator set is 18MW, about 3MW of electricity are used to run each power plant and process the wood into chips, so each 18MW boiler and steam turbine set will export a net 15MW to the grid.”

The power plant will be fuelled using certified sustainable biomass sourced from PNG Biomass dedicated tree plantations.

The firm says to ensure fuel security for the power plant, between 8 and 12 weeks’ supply of debarked logs will be stored in the log yard.

“Logs will be chipped using rotary chip mills prior to burning in the power plant.”

Oil Search states PNG Biomass aims to improve the wellbeing of Papua New Guineans by developing tree plantations, with the active involvement of landowners to provide a long-term sustainable source of safe and reliable biomass power.

“Biomass presents one of the most exciting clean, renewable and sustainable energy initiatives in PNG’s history. Oil Search is proud to be driving this exciting power initiative, which will not only enhance generation capacity on the grid, but will also empower landowners and contribute to the well-being of local communities.”

Meredith Kuusa