Spanish engineering group Sener is to build one of Spain’s largest biomass power plants after signing a turnkey contract with ENCE.

Sener will design, build and commission the 20 MW plant, located in Mérida, Spain, and will also operate and maintain it for two years. It says that the plant’s design will set a new benchmark for biomass power plants.

The power plant will use poplar and eucalyptus energy crops as fuel. The use of such woody biomass means that an advanced boiler will have to be used in the plant in order to optimise energy production, says Sener.

Other challenges presented by the project include a very tight time schedule and a very high availability.

Sener has designed a high efficiency reheat and regenerative steam cycle for the plant, with a boiler that includes a reheater and a turbine with high pressure and low pressure sections. The condenser will be water cooled.

The plant is expected to reach an efficiency of 35 per cent, says Sener. It is due to start operating in the third quarter of 2014 and is expected to generate 140 GWh/year.