Innsbruck testing innovative technologies for biomass gasification

Moving one step forward in its transition to become a Smart City, SINFONIA pilot Innsbruck has installed a novel biomass gasification CHP plant in the neighbourhood of the waste water treatment plant. This innovative plant converts local wood residues from the nearby forest and from the city’s public park into a wood gas. Before the transformation, a dryer using waste heat from the process, is pre-drying the wood chips to optimise the operating conditions. The gas is then transformed into electricity and heat in a cogeneration plant.


Innovative technologies for CO2 savings


Thanks to an innovative form of combustion using a fixed bed reactor, no tar or particulate matter are produced within the biomass transformation process. Additionally, the conversion generates valuable by-products such as activated carbon that can be used in agriculture, or sludge granulate, known as a substitute fuel.  With the adjacent sewage drying system, the mass of sludge will also be reduced by 75%, thus significantly cutting the CO2 emissions related to its transport.


Olympic swimming pool now heated with wood gas


The heat produced through the conversion process will be distributed to the Olympic swimming pool and to a nearby restaurant. The new system will be complemented by the installation of solar panels on the roof of the swimming pool and the biomass gasification plant.


Now in a trial period, the new biomass gasification plant was installed in record time: the construction began in early May 2016 and ended in December the same year. With this €2 million ecological investment, the city of Innsbruck is continuing the work carried out in the area to build up an integrated technology centre dedicated to renewable energies in the area of the waste water treatment plant.  In the future, the municipality intends to set up a combination of smart and highly efficient installations in this area, that will contribute to the sustainable development of the city.