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Owben’s part in the evolution of biomass

As contractors, we work with clients from a range of industries. Our mechanical, electrical and technical engineering services aren’t limited to a stereotypical factory setting, and our versatility broadens the experience we’re able to bring to our clients’ requirements.

It can also give us insight into trends – whether that be new businesses requiring our support or existing businesses with changing demands.

One of those is the increasing popularity of biomass, in the race to net-zero.

What is biomass

Biomass is the conversion of plant-based products to create types of fuel to produce energy. Not to be confused with closely linked biofuel, often referred to as “traditional bioenergy”, biomass does not use plants to directly create energy (such as burning wood to produce heat) and therefore is seen as the unsustainable option. Both are considered to produce lower emissions than fossil fuels.

There are various ways that plant-based products can be turned into fuel. Examples include:

  • Thermal conversions, which produce solid, liquid or gas fuels usually use extreme heat.

  • Biological conversion, where the natural breakdown of materials by nature (through composting or sewage treatment for example) creates renewable natural gasses comparative to fossil fuel gas.

  • Chemical conversions, convert biomass into other forms such as vegetable and animal oils / fats into biodiesel.

Some products and methods are more effective than others. For example, the use of algae has great potential but isn’t widely adopted due to its cost.

With the world actively moving towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches to power, we’ve witnessed through our clients BWSC the increased demand for biomass power stations.

Who are BWSC

BWSC is a global energy solutions provider for engine based and boiler-based power plants, and Owben regularly supports their Cramlington plant.

They themselves are contractors too, offering global businesses procurement and construction of engine and boiler power plants. The team can provide

international operations and maintenance of existing power plants, reacting to resolve any plant issue.

Recently, they have redefined their role in the industry as a provider of technical, operational, projects and advisory services not only for diesel, hybrid, and boiler-based power plants, but now also for other types of green energy facilities (such as biomass) and technology developers.

How we play a part

Having a permanent workforce has allowed us to seamlessly integrate into BWSC’s workflow to meet their requirements – something we’re proud of offering as standard. BWSC have strong core company values, similarly to us, making the partnership even more seamless.

Working with their Operations and Maintenance team, both electrically and mechanically, we help to keep the plant working. This includes ongoing maintenance to keep the plant running efficiently and safely, and the design and improvements of existing and new systems, helping them pivot towards their greener energy ethos.

We are always committed to providing bottom-line solutions to our clients and have recently designed and installed a piece of work that would help mitigate outages of their turbine, ultimately reducing overall downtime at the plant.

With the continued commitment from the international community to create greener energy, we know that BWSC has a bright future, and we look forward to continuing to support their success as engineering contractors.

For more information on the services we provide, please visit our services webpage.

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