June 11, 2012, London, UK - Dutch biomass torrefaction firm Topell Energy has secured financing of €13mn to help increase production and facilitate the future sale of plants.
The firm secured the funds through a financing round with Yellow&Blue Clean Energy Investment Management and Topell's existing investor, Innogy Venture Capital, leading the funding.
Torrefaction involves processing raw materials in a reactor to remove moisture and roast at around 300°C to reduce the composition of the material into a torrefied product with higher energy content. It then goes through a cooling unit, and is ground, before it is processed through a pellet mill to create torrefied pellets. The final product, also referred to as biocoal, is easier to handle, transport and co-fire in existing coal-fired plants and, unlike wood pellets, does not require covered storage.
Several different torrefaction technologies exist in the market with Topell confident that its technology is cost effective and enables large-scale production.
"Topell's proprietary torrefaction technology transforms the low-grade biomass into a homogenous and energy-dense fuel, which is suitable for combustion and gasification applications,” Topell Energy chief executive Jules Kortenhorst said.
“The additional financing will allow us to ramp up production at our commercial-scale demonstration plant in the Netherlands and to rapidly grow our business through the sale of additional plants."
German utility RWE's renewable arm RWE Innogy jointly constructed a torrefaction plant with Topell. The plant has a production capacity of 60,000 t/yr. Output from the plant will be used by RWE's Dutch subsidiary Essent over a period of five years to help fuel its coal-fired power plants in Amer.
The plant is in the Dutch province of Gelderland and was commissioned last year.
The latest funding will allow Topell to build additional plants and sell its torrefaction technology to biomass supply chain companies around the world.
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