Feb. 28, 2012 - One session at the Bioenergy Conference & Expo
focused on recent research surrounding ways to make torrefied pellets
that are as resistant to moisture as possible, while still maintaining
their firm structure, energy capacity and price.
Dr. Venkata Penmetsa from the college of forest resources from Mississippi State University spoke about developing a water-repellent binder that can increase the amount of product that can be compressed together into a pellet or puck that still allows it to maintain its impressive qualities and not increase the price too drastically.
“What we have found is that the cost of the binder is only four to five dollars per tonne of pellets,” said Penmetsa. “And you can use pretty much anything to make a pellet, such as dust of prairie grass, since the binders are continuously improving.”
Using a two percent solution of binder to wood product said Penmetsa, the finished product could be compressed up to 764 psi (and torrefied at only 300 degrees). As well, once submerged for 14 days, it fully retained its shape and only lost 30 percent of its compressibility strength.
Most impressively, by adding the two percent binder solution, the overall BTU released increased by approximately five percent (from 18 to 19 MJ).