Gasification produces lots of waste heat when the gas is simply used to power a generator. Using that to heat water, let alone a whole house, is a great way to get a lot more bang for your investment buck. These are called “Combined Heat and Power,” or CHP, systems.
At Kuittila Farm in Nurmes, Finland, owners Jouni and Eini Korhonen installed a 40 kW CHP gasification system to provide power and heat for their home, 160-cow dairy, grain dryer and other things on the farm. The system, manufactured by Finnish company Volter Ltd., came online about a year ago. It provides all the farm’s heat and 170,000 kWh of electricity per year – or about half the farm’s annual electricity needs.
The Korhonens fuel the system with wood chips from their 250-acre forest, and will likely be able to do so for one more year. After that, they’ll have to begin buying wood chips.
Purchase and installation of this large unit – the first of its kind on a Finnish farm – cost roughly $540,000, 35 percent of which was covered by a public subsidy.
Heidi Tanskanen, project manager with the Pielinin Karelia Development Center, an organization that worked on the Kuittila Farm project, says the Korhonens are satisfied with the investment, despite many technical glitches that had to be worked out in the beginning.
“This is one of the first farm-scale gasification plants established for full-time use, and the manufacturer has been actively involved and working to improve the technique on the farm,” she says.