GDF Suez and its subsidiary Electrabel have completed the €125m ($169m) conversion of the 180 MW Rodenhuize power plant in Belgium from coal to 100 percent biomass firing, which GDF Suez claims is the world’s largest conversion of this kind.

In the new unit – owned by Electrabel (73 percent) and Ackermans & van Haaren (27 percent) – coal has been fully replaced by wood pellets.

One third of the supply of wood pellets for the new unit is shipped from the Pacific BioEnergy production facility in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with which Electrabel has signed a long-term contract for 225,000 tonnes of biomass per year.

“This is a major contribution to achievement of the goals set by the EU,” said Sophie Dutordoir, General Manager of Electrabel.

“This project dovetails perfectly with our strategy to develop diversified facilities and is in line with the ambitious commitments that the group has pursued in renewable energy.”

GDF Suez is currently building a 190 MW biomass power plant in Polaniec, Poland, to be commissioned at the end of 2012.

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