Wind, biogas and biomass are to be integrated for the first time to provide a single source of power under a project spearheaded by De Montfort University in Leicester with partners Loughborough University, Vergnet SA of France and the University of Zaragoza of Spain. "What we are trying to make is a 50 kW power station for rural areas that runs on renewable technologies," explains Karl Seare from De Montfort. The £590,000 project is being funded under the European Commission's JOULE research programme. The system will comprise a purpose built 25 kW Vergnet wind turbine and a combined heat and power unit. This will be fuelled by carbon monoxide from coppiced wood that has been partially burnt in a biomass gasifier being built by the University of Zaragoza, and by methane from agricultural waste via an anaerobic digestor which is being constructed at De Montfort. "Using all of those technologies in one hybrid energy system sounds really good, but when you couple them all together you need some control system," says Seare. This is being custom made by Loughborough University. The system will be sited at De Montfort's School of Agriculture and Horticulture in Lincolnshire and is expected to be completed by summer 1998.
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