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Industry to assess torrefied pellet production

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Industry to assess torrefied pellet production

The BC Bioenergy Network and the Wood Pellet Association of Canada are assessing the feasibility of a pilot plant to produce torrefied pellets from wood waste at a commercial scale.


September 29, 2010
By Ministry of Forests and Range

Sept. 29,
2010, Victoria – The BC Bioenergy Network and the Wood Pellet Association of
Canada (WPAC) are assessing the feasibility of a pilot plant to produce
torrefied pellets from wood waste at a commercial scale. Torrefaction involves
a thermo-chemical conversion of biomass at 200–320ºC in an oxygen-starved
environment, removing water and combustible gases and leaving a black,
energy-dense wood product. The energy density of torrefied pellets is 22
to 24% higher than that of regular wood pellets, resulting in a 40 to 50%
reduction in transportation and storage costs. Torrefied pellets are also
water-repellent, are said to decrease fire risks in transportation and storage
by generating less dust, and can be made from a wide range of raw biomass
feedstocks. They are also practical for use in coal-fired power stations.

Torrefaction
technology has been tested successfully in laboratory conditions. The BC
Bioenergy Network and WPAC are now funding a $170,000 engineering study to
determine if the technology is feasible on a commercial scale.

“Torrefaction
is one of the most promising new technology applications for use in bioenergy,”
says BC Bioenergy Network executive director Michael Weedon. “Indications are
that it will substantially improve the economics of wood pellet applications
and accelerate replacement of fossil fuel-based coal with a more sustainable
fuel source.”

“A
successful pilot plant would lead to widespread deployment of torrefaction
technology by the entire Canadian pellet industry,” says Gordon Murray,
executive director of WPAC. “This would give our producers a significant
advantage in an increasingly competitive global market.”

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The
feasibility study is expected to be complete in late fall 2010. The BC
Bioenergy Network and WPAC will review and analyze the results in conjunction
with the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range and Ministry of Energy,
Mines, and Petroleum Resources. Funding possibilities for a pilot plant will be
explored if the study determines that torrefaction technology is commercially
feasible.

See
additional news coverage:
Tom
Fletcher | BC Local News:  Charcoal
pellets studied for export

250 News:
 Torrefaction next step in bio
energy


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