Florida utility tests New Generation biofuel

By Ryan C. Christiansen | March 09, 2009
Web exclusive posted March 12, 2009, at 1:58 p.m. CST

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Progress Energy Florida recently completed a successful test burn of fuel from New Generation Biofuels Holdings Inc., a Lake Mary, Fla.-based company that uses emulsification to produce fuel from biodiesel feedstocks. The test burn was completed at Progress Energy's Bartow Plant in St. Petersburg, Fla., the company said.

Progress Energy Florida, is a subsidiary of Raleigh, N.C.-based Progress Energy.

According to Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Progress Energy Florida, the biofuel was injected in pure form through a single igniter into the boiler, where it was then co-fired with natural gas. He said the trial was conducted to evaluate the technical and environmental performance of the fuel in a utility boiler. Preliminary test results were positive, Brooks added.

"We're going to review the data from this test burn and it is possible that additional biofuel research in the future could include a larger-scale boiler test and/or smaller-scale laboratory testing," Brooks said. "We're focusing on analyzing the data from the Bartow test burn to see what results it produced, how its efficiency compares to technologies that we're currently using to help us decide, as we look to the future, what types of fuels we want to research further and what types of technologies we want to evaluate as we move forward." The results are being examined by the company's Strategic Engineering section, and representatives from New Generation Biofuels and the University of Florida's Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD) program.

While Progress Energy Florida has tested using fuel from New Generation Biofuels, Brooks said the company has no plans at this time to test biodiesel. "New Generation Biofuels approached us with a proposal for this proof-of-concept test," he said. "Progress Energy Florida has not tested biodiesel and has no specific plan in the works to test biodiesel, but is open to the idea. [We are] continually looking for innovative alternative energy resources to help address the challenges of global climate change and rising costs.

"This trial with this particular form of biofuel is certainly an important part of our balanced solution to meeting our customers' energy needs," Brooks continued. "We want to explore alternative fuels that are available in the market and fuels that may well become part of the market in the future. By testing these fuels, we're able to see how they interact with our utility technology and whether they may be a viable fuel source now and in the future."
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