June 7, 2016 — Europe's largest wood pellet producer, Estonia's Graanul Invest, has bought the 556MW Langerlo power plant and plans to convert it to burn biomass by the second half of 2017.
June 7, 2016 By Argus Media
The plant, located in Flanders, Belgium, will use 1.8mn t/yr of wood pellets once converted. The company is still considering its supply options and is likely to secure part of Langerlo’s supply from the market. U.S. pellet producer Enviva had previously signed a 10-year supply agreement for 450,000mn t/yr of wood pellets to be delivered to the plant from 2017 and that is still an option, Graanul Invest said.
Graanul Invest has a pellet production capacity of around 2.3mn t/yr in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and although a proportion of its output is contracted the firm would not need to build further production capacity to supply the plant, it said.
Langerlo was granted a subsidy by the Flemish government in summer 2015 and must be converted within three years of that date. German utility Eon had held discussions with potential contractors which are still under consideration for the conversion, Graanul Invest said, which would allow a relatively quick timeline for the works. Under Eon’s conversion plans, the coal-fired plant would become a 400MW wood-pellet fuelled plant.
Wood pellet producer German Pellets had acquired the Langerlo plant from Eon in December 2015, but shortly afterwards German Pellets filed for insolvency. Ownership of Langerlo subsequently passed to Peter Leibold, the founder of German Pellets.
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