August 7, 2012, Hanover, GDR — German municipal utility HWS is set to start construction on a demonstration plant for bio-coal production, the utility said.
The bio-coal demonstration plant — the country's first and located in the eastern German town of Halle — will be built with support from German biomass research institute DBFZ. The utility and DBFZ have been investigating the viability of making economic and environmentally friendly use of biogenic residual waste, such as household food waste. The research is subsidized by Germany's environment ministry.
The long-term goal of the project is to produce an “adequate substitute“ to wood pellets, DBFZ said.
The Halle plant will produce bio-coal derived from biogenic residual waste, and from non-woody cuttings from the agricultural sector, through the process of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). The waste will be transformed into a coal-like substance similar to lignite.
The plant will be able to use the unused heat generated by several cogeneration plants on the Halle site, rendering the project more economic. The plant will also use a “substantial“ part of the household biogenic waste from Halle's 230,000 inhabitants. Production is scheduled to start in March 2013.
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