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'New generation’ bio-ethanol plant in Belgium installs high efficiency motors on its cooling towers

29 June 2010

Brazilian motor manufacturer WEG says it has supplied its first high efficiency motors for the BioWanze project—a plant that began producing bioethanol from wheat and sugar beet last year, and produces half the annual bioethanol volume for Belgium.

Close up: one of WEG’s three 200 kW high efficiency motors installed at BioWanze.
Close up: one of WEG’s three 200 kW high efficiency motors installed at BioWanze.

The facility, located in Wanze near Huy sur Meuse, is considered an European monument to the 'green' movement. It produces biofuels in an environmentally conscious way, using the most energy efficient methods available.

Its steam boiler, for example, is fuelled with wheat syrup whcih is said to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% when compared to fossil fuels. The biomass boiler is 35 metres high, 60 metres long and 20 metres wide, and is capable of producing 100 tons/hour of steam at 93 bar and 520º C.

The plant represents an investment of 250 million euros for the Südzucker Group, Europe’s leading sugar producer. BioWanze will be the fourth ethanol production factory run by Südzucker, which already has infrastructures of this type in Germany, in France, and in Hungary.

The Wanze plant produces 300,000 cubic metres of biofuel per annum, which represents 75,000 hectares of wheat and 12,000 hectares of beet. Südzucker has obtained a guarantee from the government that 125,000 cubic metres will be sold by petrol companies established in Belgium, who are granted tax incentives to do so.

High efficiency motors

No 'green' plant would want to be caught without high efficiency motors.

And so WEG says this was its first opportunity in Europe to install its recently designed and launched W22 high efficiency motors. Working with Hamon Thermal Europe, a cooling tower manufacturer, and subcontractors to De Smet Engineering and Contractors, partners of BioWanze in the mill construction project, it has installed three 200kW 4-pole 315L frame W22 motors and inverters, one at each cooling tower of the mill.

The motors are installed outdoors. And while Belgium is not known for its sunny skies, WEG says the operating life of the motors is extended by the WSeal system which has a W-ring with a metal cover that protects the rubber sealing from harmful ultra-violet rays. The design also ensures the interior of the motor benefits from higher levels of protection against water and dust.

The new motors are claimed to reduce motor losses by between 10% and 40% when compared to traditional AC induction motors, and have low levels of noise and vibration.

The W22 motors comply with the requirements of IEC60034-30, the new harmonised IE (International Efficiency) grading standard for electric motors which will be standard worldwide from June 2011.

WEG says it is the aerodynamic frame which increases the air flow and reduces temperature that enables them to achieve conformity with the standard. The terminal box of the motor is also positioned in such a way as to improve air flow over the motor, which reduces the number of “hot-spots.”

A note on bio-ethanol

Ethanol is an organo-oxygen compound of the chemical formula C2H5OH. It is used as a fuel for cars in two versions: hydrous ethanol (in cars run on alcohol or flex fuel models) and anhydrous ethanol (added to petrol at a 25% proportion). The first has 7% water in the blend while the latter has a maximum of 0.7%.


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