Flow Chart Showing Cogeneration ProcessCogeneration is a renewable energy product, much like solar and wind.  The primary difference is that cogeneration is considered a firm power source; in that you can control both the input (wood biomass) and the output (renewable energy) effectively.  This allows Seneca the ability to produce local energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

On the other hand, input for solar and wind power is largely controlled by mother nature, resulting in intermittent output.  For these reasons, solar and wind power are considered non-firm power sources.  Cogeneration provides a great compliment to these non-firm sources that are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest by providing utilities the flexibility to meet and respond to local power demands efficiently and economically.  Energy generated from our cogeneration facility is 68% more cost effective than wind power and 360% more cost effective than centralized solar energy.

Cogeneration 101: The Energy Production Process

  • Fuel and water enter the boiler
  • This results in the production of steam, which enters the turbine generator.
  • The turbine diverts steam (thermal energy) to three locations:
    • Generator, resulting in the production of electricity
    • Thermal energy to dry lumber in Seneca Sawmill’s kilns
    • Resultant steam is condensed, cooled, recycled, stored and returned to the boiler.

Construction of the cogeneration facility and the use of thermal energy for drying lumber allows Seneca Sawmill to discontinue it’s use of natural gas, a fossil fuel, significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The following pages show the cogeneration process at Seneca Sustainable Energy in more detail.
Our process begins with Fuel Receiving>>