The first bagasse/coal hybrid thermal power plant in France, Albioma Bois-Rouge converts bagasse, a fibrous residue from sugar cane, into electricity to supply the Réunion power network. In 2020, the Group has announced the conversion of the plant to 100% biomass.
Located in the northern part of Réunion Island, the thermal power plant has a total capacity of 108.5 MW and is located next to the Bois-Rouge sugar refinery, which supplies the bagasse needed for its activities during the sugar harvest.
“The Bois-Rouge plant processes bagasse into high-pressure steam and electricity. Some of this energy is returned to the neighbouring sugar refinery, while the rest is sent to the Réunion grid.” – Albioma Bois-Rouge.
On December 8, 2020, following deliberations by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), Albioma Bois-Rouge announced the complete discontinuation of coal as a source of electricity production at its historic site. Pursuant to the signing of a power purchase agreement with EDF for conversion of the plant to biomass, work began in 2021 to ensure that the plant will be 100% biomass-powered by the second half of 2023. To achieve this, the Company will prioritize available local biomass (bagasse, forest wood, pruning wood, etc.) and supplement its electricity production with imported wood pellets from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), whose traceability procedure will comply with European Union Wood Regulation (EUWR).
Ultimately, the conversion will increase the portion of renewable energy used on Réunion Island from 35% to 51%, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 640,000 tons of CO2 per year. This represents a significant reduction of 84% of the emissions produced by the plant.
Construction of domes
In order to convert all of its coal-based energy production equipment, Albioma Bois-Rouge launched a request for proposals for the construction of new biomass handling and storage facilities, along with a retrofit program for the three boilers belonging to its thermal power plant located in the municipality of Saint-André in Réunion. This energy transition will require the installation of a dome-shaped storage tank, among other work.
Dome Technology, a major player in the dome construction market, submitted the winning proposal for the engineering and construction of two wood pellet storage domes. The work includes excavation, foundations, building tunnels and construction of the domes in compliance with the client’s specifications.
Since its creation in 1976, Dome Technology has completed more than 700 turnkey (design-build) industrial and commercial projects worldwide. It has built an international reputation for the construction of thin-shell concrete domes.
The project execution approach consisted of a design-build project in compliance with French/European standards, construction methods and health and safety procedures. Dome Technology, which is experienced in large-scale industrial dome construction projects, including the operation of heavy machinery and specialized equipment, employed a number of specialized techniques:
- Construction of concrete slabs and circular perimeter walls
- Inflation of the dome airform and management of the inflation air pressure
- Application of polyurethane foam to the inner shell of the dome
- Sequencing of shotcrete and reinforcement installed on an air-inflated structure
- Installation of a vibrating floor for the extraction of wood pellets
- Installation of a nitrogen inerting system inside the dome to limit temperature increases among the wood pellets and the fire risks
- Installation of mechanical and electrical equipment
CIMA+ assisted Dome Technology in many aspects of the project, such as :
- Provide support for Dome Technology teams in the areas of engineering, construction and commissioning
- Represent Dome Technology and act as the main contact between Dome Technology and its client, ALBIOMA.
- Oversee project management
- Manage the design executed by equipment suppliers (civil, vibrating floor, dust collectors, temperature cables, electricity, etc.)
- Oversee monitoring of the procurement of mechanical and electrical equipment
- Provide support in the areas of automation and instrumentation
- Management of documentation and issuance of official documents
- Provide instant technical translation from English to French and French to English
- Translate technical documents, engineering drawings and standards (English and French)
Designer-builder: Dome Technology, Idaho, United States
Collaborator: CIMA+, Québec, Canada
Project duration: 2020-2023