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Royal Dahlman Demonstration Plant

Date: 25-09-2014

Royal Dahlman is pleased to announce the recent start-up of a new operation to demonstrate the clean gasification of waste material for use in efficient power production or fuels. Located in Tondela, Portugal, the plant is running on Refuse Derived Fuel (“RDF”), i.e., Municipal Solid Waste (“MSW”) that has been processed to remove recyclables and inert material. It features a conventional circulating fluid bed gasifier coupled with the proprietary OLGA tar removal technology. The resulting, ultra-clean synthesis gas (“syngas”) is used to generate power in a 1 MWe Caterpillar reciprocating engine. The plant was originally built by Iberfer, to produce clean power from the gasification of chicken litter, another very challenging and dirty form of biomass, and it ran over long periods with this fuel.


Over the last few years Royal Dahlman has been developing the innovative MILENA gasification technology and OLGA tar removal technology in close cooperation with its partner the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). Currently Royal Dahlman is increasingly active as a total plant integrator to realize Waste to Energy (WtE) facilities based on gasification technology. To demonstrate the latest developments of WtE production based on gasification, including tar removal with the proven OLGA technology, Royal Dahlman together with the Portuguese plant owners are modifying an existing chicken manure gasification system to operate the facility for WtE production.

Gasification: smart way to process urban waste

With its substantial investments in the Portuguese site, Royal Dahlman is making its leap forward in the world of WtE. The combined MILENA (gasifier) and OLGA (tar removal) technology offers the highest efficiency in the market in producing syngas. This gas is of high quality and can be used as a source for carbon based chemical productions, production of Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) and as the fuel for gas turbines, generating electricity. Royal Dahlman’s gasification solution is relatively easy to implement in plants that can process the non-recyclable carbon containing waste materials. It thus contributes to a significant decrease of this waste dumped in landfills. The positive effects are very substantial: sharp decrease in methane output from the landfills, less space occupied by these landfills, less transport of waste to incineration plants, cleaner production compared to incineration, local production, local job creation. The Royal Dahlman solution is very suitable for countries and regions where landfilling is common practice and without a strong incineration infrastructure. There are interesting markets in Europe; the UK, Italy and some Southern and Eastern-European countries. And the world market is even more attractive to license out the WtE solutions of Royal Dahlman.

The gasification plant in Tondela (Portugal)

Tondela, Portugal, is located inland and roughly mid-way between Porto (1½ hour drive by car) and Lisbon (2½ hour drive by car). The site was operated since 2009 by the Portuguese company Iberfer to demonstrate the gasification of chicken manure (4 MWth) and run a 1 MWe Caterpillar gas engine. To condition the gas before utilization in the reciprocating engine, Iberfer selected the patented OLGA technology to remove the tars. Analysis campaigns by a third party, showed tar removal efficiencies of over 99,9%, with final phenol and naphthalene concentrations below the analytical detection limits. Royal Dahlman developed and financed a modification, test and demonstration program to develop and demonstrate Refused Derived Fuel (RDF) as fuel for gasification. For this purpose the plant is re-engineered, modified and upgraded in the first half of 2014.

This summer RDF gasification was started-up in a conventional CFB gasifier and was successfully proven during a duration test on RDF as sole feedstock. Currently the plant will be prepared for the RDF gasification tests in combination with the proven OLGA tar removal technology, which are scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014. Planned to be followed by the demonstration of the innovative MILENA gasification technology in 2015, which will increase the overall efficiency with 10 %.  

Royal Dahlman has developed the design for complete WtE plants with a size of 7-50 MWe. A 20 MWeplant processes the non-recyclables of 150.000 households and produces energy for 50.000 households. And, as the gasification is a very clean production process with no emissions or residues, the plants can be planned easily in or near populated areas.