GE Power & Water and PHG Energy, a Nashville-based alternative energy equipment company, have collaborated on a project to produce electricity from waste material. The project employs gasification technology to power the Clean Cycle heat-to-power generator, manufactured by GE Power & Water, to convert waste heat into electricity.

The new system that PHG Energy developed starts with gasification of waste wood chips or other biomass to provide a clean-burning producer gas. That fuel then is combusted in a heating unit that supplies the organic rankine cycle (ORC) with the thermal source it needs to operate efficiently, producing enough electricity to supply approximately 50 homes. Operating at a cost below existing waste-to-energy systems, according to the company, the project is capable of operating on multiple, varied waste streams.

The combined GE-PHG Energy project is being conducted in Gleason, Tenn., at a facility owned by Boral Brick Corp. Six industrial-grade PHG Energy biomass-fueled gasifiers, which were used to offset natural gas consumption in kiln firing, are currently being used for research and development by PHG Energy until the Boral Brick plant reopens when the housing industry recovers.

Electricity produced with GE’s heat-to-power generator unit is added to the grid through an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

 Commercial use of such a system is currently underway in Covington, Tenn., where the city has engaged PHG Energy to build a waste-to-energy facility using both wood waste and sewage sludge as fuel sources. The new plant will provide electric power and simultaneously cut disposal costs and landfill fees for the city. The new system will divert material from landfills and eliminate the release of more than 450 tons of carbon into the air each year.