5.07.04 - Small conventional power systems


David L. Nicholls, United States


Nellie Mugure Oduor, Kenya

About Unit

This Working Party will identify some of the key barriers to small-scale bioenergy use, as well as the leading technologies suitable for remote settings.  We will do this as per the objectives of the Bio-Refinery Group (5.07), which include coordinating, presenting, and discussion results through international meetings and workshops.  

We will also encourage research and development of products, processes and methods capable of using a wide variety of biomass types, not limited to wood.  We will also work closely with other working groups within Division 5, including 5.06.00 (Properties and utilization of plantation wood), and 5.12.00 (Sustainable utilization of forest products).  

Our global scope will consider common factors between geographically diverse locations such as Africa, SE Asia and Europe.  We will also explore technologies suited to high-latitude locations such as Alaska and Scandinavia.

State of Knowledge

Currently there are few wood energy systems capable of providing electrical power economically at smaller scales (i.e. at the community level).  This working group will explore the knowledge gaps in using different commercial and pre-commercial bioenergy technologies for small-scale power generation, including gasification and direct combustion.  

We will also evaluate different power technologies such as microturbines, reciprocating engines, small-scale cogeneration, Stirling engines, and other emerging technologies.  Economic analyses will be conducted on working systems as well as proposed technologies. Perhaps most importantly we will explore the community dynamics of implementing village-scale bioenergy systems, including methods to gain broad-based support, and identifying project champions.