Soria, the paradise of biomass

Soria has proposed to be the first Spanish city with zero carbon. Since 2015, gas or diesel boilers are being replaced by other renewable energy for the supply of hot water and heating. A project of 14 million euros, with the financing of the Official Credit Institute (ICO), which has disbursed four million through its venture capital management company Axis, and Barcelona's Suma Capital.

The Soria heat network, as the initiative managed and marketed by the Soria company has been called Rebi, belonging to the group Amax bie, already has 8.000 clients after the completion of its first stage. It includes from communities of owners to hotels, hospitals, schools, swimming pools, nursing homes and public bodies.

The biomass plant for thermal use, has a power of 18kw, it consumes 16.000 tons of forest material per year, which generates 45 million kilowatt hours per year.

scrub as biomass

The company has 50 employees, and this avoids 16.000 tons of carbon dioxide(CO2) per year. "We help to recover the forest and keep it clean," said Alberto Gómez, its CEO.

The network is a 28 km closed underground hot water circuit, explains Borondo. "The forest material is placed in the plant, with three biomass boilers of six megawatts each, after screening and filtering. This prevents any branch from clogging the system ”, he adds.

The water is heated by the heat generated in the combustion process and then pumped through the pipes to the city, it continues. In each building, the company installs an exchange substation, which makes the water in its circuit independent from that of the building. "We guarantee savings of between 10% and 25%, according to the chosen rate; only the electricity consumed is billed thanks to some meters that measure the energy transferred to the home ”.

Extension

Rebi is expanding its services to the center and south of Soria, with which it hopes to bring the number of users to 16.000. To meet this increased demand, the firm has incorporated new equipment (inertial accumulator) for storing thermal energy and a water pumping system. "We saw in Europe that this improves efficiency, rather than installing other combustion equipment," says Borondo.

The one in Soria is not the only project. The group began exploring this business in 2009, seeing the forestry potential of Castilla y León and the concentration of buildings with fossil fuel boilers in a province with very cold winters.

forest biomass

Thus, its first network arose in the Soria municipality of Olvega, operational since 2012, or at the University of Valladolid. Now just landed on Aranda de Duero (Burgos), after an agreement with the Arandino town hall to supply 3.000 homes and public entities, with an investment of eight million.

The works will begin in October and will operate in two years, they anticipate. The company's plans also extend to Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha), in the process of licenses.

Evolution of biomass in Spain

Next we are going to see different graphs, which show the evolution of three of the main factors of the energy sector: estimated power in kW, number of installations and energy generated in GWh. The source of the data used is the web specialized in the sector: www.observatoriobiomasa.es.

What is the Observatoriobiomasa.es?

La Spanish Association for Biomass Energy Valorization (AVEBIOM) created this website in 2016 to bring biomass data and estimates to as many people as possible, with the main objective of bringing together, in the same platform, information on the use of thermal biomass in Spain.

Thanks to AVEBIOM's own data and those provided by the National Boiler Biomass Observatory and the Biofuel Price Index, in addition to the collaboration of companies and entities in the biomass sector, can generate evolutions, comparisons and provide data and estimates.

Graph 1: Evolution of the number of biomass installations in Spain

A clear example of the great boom of this technology is the increase in the number of installations of this type of renewable energy.

The latest data available shows that in 2015 there were 160.036 installations in Spain. An increase of 25 percentage points compared to the previous year, where the figure was just over 127.000.

8 years ago, there were not 10.000 installations and in 2015 they already exceeded 160.000, it is clear that evolution and the increase in biomass in our country is a verifiable fact and clearly visible.

Boilers

We recall that these boilers are used as a source of biomass energy and for the generation of heat in homes and buildings. They use as an energy source natural fuels such as wood pellets, olive pits, forest residues, nut shells, etc. They are also used to heat water in homes and buildings.

Graph 2: Evolution of estimated biomass power in Spain (kW)

A clear consequence of the increase in the number of installations is the increase in the estimated power.

The total installed power estimated for Spain was 7.276.992 kW in 2015. Comparing it with the previous period, the total installed power increased by 21,7% compared to 2014, where the kW estimate was just under 6 million.

The growth experienced in terms of total installed power from 2008 to the last data provided in 2015 it has been 381%, going from 1.510.022 kW to more than 7.200.000.

Graph 3: Evolution of energy generated in Spain (GWh)

  

To finish with the graphs, we will analyze the evolution during the last 8 years of the energy generated by this energy in Spain.

Like the two previous metrics, growth is constant over the years being the 2015, with 12.570 GWh, the year with the highest GWh volume. 20,24% more than in 2014. The increase in energy generated by biomass since 2008 has been 318%.

The integration of biomass among the main energy sources of our country continues its course constantly. To see clearly its positive evolution just look at the 2008 data.

In that period there were 9.556 installations that generated an estimated energy of 3.002,3 GWh with an estimated power of 1.510.022 Kw and in 2015, last data available, has increased to 12.570 GWh of generated energy, 160.036 installations and 7.276.992 Kw of estimated power.


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