Biomass and Multi-Fuel Technologies B&W and Volund

Biomass and Multi-Fuel
Clean and sustainable thermal energy

What is Biomass Energy?

Proven Technology to Utilize Biomass as a Renewable Energy Source

Biomass is a renewable energy source consisting of living or recently living organisms. Generally, this means plants and trees in the form of industrial and agricultural scrap.

How a Biomass Combustion Energy Plant Works

Our biomass technology helps to protect the earth and atmosphere from greenhouse gas emissions. Since biomass consists of “recently alive” material, burning biomass is CO2-neutral in the sense that it only releases the quantity of CO2 that the plant absorbed during growth.

Some biomass needs pre-treatment before the fuel is fed onto a combustion grate where it is burned. The heat from the combustion is used to fire the boiler, which in turn generates hot water or steam. The steam turns a turbine which produces electricity. 

Biomass Fuel Types

Biomass Fuel Types

In general, biomass fuels are evaluated on the basis of their physical properties (density, size distribution, humidity, foreign matter) and chemical properties (calorific value, proximate analyses, ultimate analyses, ash analyses, and ash-melting behavior).

Today we can recover energy from biomass in highly efficient energy plants – generating heat, process steam, electricity, syngas, and/or bio-oil. Many of our biomass energy solutions are combined heat and power (CHP). 

Biomass can be derived from a variety of sources, and it’s essential to understand the properties and chemical composition of each one.  Some biomass needs pre-treatment before the fuel is fed onto a combustion grate where it is burned.

Biomass Fuels Include:

  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Peat
  • Bark chips
  • Straw
  • Waste wood
  • Other opportunity fuels

Multi-fuel Energy

Multi-fuel Energy - Designed for fuel flexibility

Today there are a large number of plants using different types of biomass to produce energy. While some exclusively use straw or wood chips, others are preparing for a future of flexibility by firing with multi-fuel – a mixture of various kinds of biomass, contaminated bio waste, and certain types of refuse-derived fuels (RDF).

The primary advantage of our multi-fuel solutions is that they provide more opportunities to use locally available biomass and less dependency on seasonal fuels. Instead of having to store biomass fuel or collect it from other areas, these multi-fuel energy plants can interchange fuels and maintain steady production throughout the year.

How a Multi-fuel Plant Works

A multi-fuel facility works in very much the same way as a traditional waste-to-energy plant. The “fuel” (municipal waste, industrial/agricultural bi-products, bio waste, refuse-derived fuels, etc.) is fed to a grate where it is burned, thus creating heat that is used to fire boilers, which in turn generate hot water or steam to drive electricity producing turbines.

The challenge of firing with multi-fuel lies in the widely differing characteristics of biomass fuel. For example, biomass ashes do not melt at the same temperature; different types of fuel do not burn in the same way and therefore don’t produce the same emissions. Our multi-fuel technology is able to handle the various methods of combustion and also ensures an optimum, thoroughly reliable result for each type of fuel at one and the same time.

Biomass Technologies & Services

B&W and B&W Vølund have been trusted suppliers of biomass combustion and gasification technologies for many years. Our extensive list of commercially demonstrated and industry-accepted products have stood the test of time in providing reliable steam generation for both process and electric power applications. While offering a highly available and readily dispatchable renewable energy source, the combustion of biomass also provides environmental benefits such as reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and mercury, when compared with other fossil fuels. Biomass is also a carbon dioxide (CO2)-neutral renewable energy source.

Biomass combustion:

  • Pretreatment technologies
  • Stokers (air spouts, screw feeder, ram feeder)
  • Bubbling fluidized-bed, circulating fluidized-bed and stoker boilers
  • Combustion technologies (vibrating grate, burners and gasifier)

Emissions control:

  • Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems for NOx reduction
  • Electrostatic precipitator (ESP) or fabric filter for particulate control
  • Flue gas desulfurization system for SO2 and acid gas control

 B&W Biomass Renewable Energy Solutions

 Renewable Energy Solutions

Carbon-Neutral Biomass

B&W Volund Biomass Energy Plant
Readily available renewable energy with environmental benefits.

Biomass is a renewable, carbon-neutral, cost-effective and reliable fuel. Learn more about wood chips, wheat straw, bagasse and B&W's experience with a wide range of other unique fuels and environmentally sound technologies to ensure reliable and efficient energy utilization.

Multi-Fuel Flexibility

Multi-Fuel Energy Plant
Technologies for the widely differing characteristics of opportunity fuels

Tomorrow's energy plants need to be ultra-flexible and our multi-fuel technology gives you the best flexibility and high thermal efficiency for your business case.

Aftermarket Support

B&W Contracting Models

Service and Support

Our specialists provide a wide range of services, improvements and upgrades to maximize the useful lifetime of a waste-to-energy, biomass, multi-fuel or fossil fuel-fired plant.


Supercritical Straw-Fired Avedøreværket 

Avedore Straw-Fired Plant Avedøre, Denmark

B&W Vølund supplied the ultra-supercritical straw-fired boiler, featuring an advanced straw feeding system for this revolutionary combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Denmark.  The boiler is designed for 100 percent straw firing (approximately 150,000 tons per year), and is the world’s largest and most effective straw-fired boiler with ultra-supercritical steam parameters.

Waste Wood Biomass Margam

Margam Biomass Plant Near Port Talbot, Wales, UK

Our successful expansion in the UK market continues through signing contracts to build a 40MWe biomass plant and to provide 15 years of operation and maintenance.

The Margam Green Energy project will be capable of processing waste wood, including contaminated wood and fuel containing metals, with no pre-treatment. The plant will have a capacity of 280,000 tonnes per annum, generating 40MWe of renewable energy. The facility will also be capable of using municipal waste as a fuel source in the future.

University Biomass Opportunity Fuels

Biomass Plant University Missouri, USA

B&W designed, engineered and supplied a 150,000 pound-per-hour bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) boiler designed to burn chipped hardwoods and various local opportunity fuels near the University of Missouri's campus. The new boiler was retrofit within the university physical plant's existing structure. The physical plant provides the university campus with electricity and steam for heating and other uses.

Biomass Gasification   Harboøre 

Biomass Gasification in Denmark Harboøre, Denmark

Today gasification of biomass is an alternative to traditional combustion plants as it is possible with this technology to generate more electricity than with the existing solutions based on steam in small district
heating and industrial plants.

Multi-fuel Biofuel Strängnäs 

Multi-fuel biofuel plant Strängnäs, Sweden


Babcock & Wilcox Vølund supplied the multi biofuel boiler for Strängnäs Energi AB. The energy produced by the boiler is to be used for high-efficiency electricity production, process steam for neighbouring industries and district heat heating for the town of Strängnäs.  In order to benefit from green certificates for the initial 10 years’ operation of the plant, virgin wood (GROT) and waste wood chips are intended as the main fuel. The plant has also been designed to burn refuse-derived fuel (RDF) based on wood, paper and plastic and a fraction of peat.