Thermal Power Plant reduces carbon emissions and increases renewable energy production with our help



Réunion Island is in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique and is aiming for the majority of its electricity to be of renewable origin by 2024. Renewable energy producer Albioma’s Bois-Rouge plant on Réunion opened in 1992 and now has an installed capacity of 108 MW and is next to the Bois-Rouge sugar refinery. During the sugar harvest, onsite dual-fuel boilers burn bagasse, a by-product of sugar cane processing to produce electricity from this material that would otherwise be wasted. Some of this energy is used by the sugar refinery and the rest is sent to the island’s grid.

Energy Supplier Albioma has upgraded its Bois-Rouge plant from coal to biomass, so that its emission levels in generating power comply with EU targets.

Since 2021 Albioma has been converting its plant so that it is 100% biomass-powered and use of coal is completely discontinued. Priority is given to local wood suppliers and the harvest of bagasse from sugar cane when available, and then imported wood is used to make-up the balance of supply. This means the plant is no longer dependent on Coal from South Africa.

The conversion will increase the proportion of renewable energy on Reunion Island from 35% to 51% and make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% (640,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year) compared to the plant’s current operating levels.

Green’s Power was commissioned to manufacture replacement economiser and additional air preheater units to allow the boilers to operate with the alternative wood supply, to ensure that fouling does not occur within the tube banks, to prevent localised boiling ‘steaming’ occuring in high temperature regions and increase the duty of the economisers to supply more output.

Gautier Demas, Albioma’s Boiler Works and Maintenance Engineer said: “ Bois Rouge revamping project has been a challenging one. We started to work with Heat Exchange Group on this project back in June 2020 to design the most accurate solution as we wanted to improve the efficiency of our thermal cycle. The project development was performed in very good teamwork environment together with Heat Exchange Group design department and other international design teams. Major changes were selected such as plain tube original exchanger changed to finned tube and additional headers were installed in order to recover higher thermal power from the fumes. Many interfaces were at stake in terms of design, many challenges in terms of production, logistics and site installation schedule were met and difficult coordination in an international environment was achieved with Heat Exchange Group site team in safe conditions. Thanks to all Heat Exchange Group team who made a great job all along this journey with us!”

Nigel Stone, Business & Development Director at Heat Exchange Group, Green’s parent company said: It was a great privilege to be part of this international engineering upgrade project, which I am sure will set a precedent for future EU power plant projects. Our engineering team worked daily with other international team members to ensure thermal and mechanical requirements were achieved using the existing space constraints on site and conforming to the latest boiler construction codes.”

Heat Exchange Group also worked on site at Albioma’s Réunion plant to scrap out the old economiser tubes and headers and install the new equipment made in their Yorkshire factory. This required intense activity over three months with teams of engineers working 16 hours per day over two shifts.

Heat Exchange Group’s Services Sales Director Neil Ford said: “This project presented a range of challenges including the intense heat, multiple languages spoken on site and the need to adhere to different working time regulations. However, our team overcame them as well as selecting and managing local scaffolding and cladding companies.”

Nigel concludes: “Our company has an excellent reputation and a lot of experience with large upgrade schemes worldwide. Having access to a wide range of previous reference contracts means we can give customers the confidence to use and work with us on multimillion euro projects like these.”