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Selma biomass plant to start in 2013

Mar. 13, 2012, London, UK - US biomass producer Zilkha Biomass expects its first large-scale commercial pellet plant to be operational by late 2013, according to a report from Argus Media.


March 13, 2012
By Argus Media

Mar. 13, 2012, London, UK – US biomass producer Zilkha Biomass expects its first
large-scale commercial pellet plant to be operational by late 2013, the
company has told Argus.

Zilkha acquired a 500,000 t/yr regular “white” pellet plant in Selma,
Alabama, two years ago when the previous owners failed to make the
business viable. Zilkha will adapt the plant to produce 275,000 t/yr of
“Zilkha Black” pellets.

“We have about a year's worth of work once the offtake agreements for
the plant have been finalised,” Zilkha vice-president for business
development Larry Weick told Argus. “So we are looking at a
late-2013 start-up. The previous plant was not successful due to several
factors, but Zilkha is confident that operating the plant at 275,000
t/yr, well below the original design capacity of 500,000 t/yr, will be
economically viable.”

The company is looking to establish several plants, including
projects which would export through Mobile, Alabama, and also projects
in British Columbia, Canada.

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“It makes more sense to have multiple plants that are shipping
through the same ports,” Weick said. “Although we cannot confirm how
many more plants we are looking at constructing, our Selma plant is the
first in a series of 200,000-400,000 t/yr plants that we will construct
in the future.”

Zilkha Black pellets are not torrefied, according to Weick, but are
pre-processed according to a technology acquired by the company a few
years ago.

“Although both routes can theoretically produce a dense, waterproof
pellet, there is a pretty clear difference between Zilkha Black pellets
and torrefied pellets,” Weick said. “Essentially torrefaction drives the
process conditions so hard and so far that the final material is really
charcoal, whereas we use a completely different approach and avoid that
more destructive route. As a result, we can make a good, hard, low dust
pellet that is waterproof without incorporating any additives in the
pellet.”

Zilkha believes that pre-processed biomass either as Zilkha Black
pellets or perhaps torrefied material will be the preferred biomass
product once it is readily available, due to its reduced capital costs
for conversion, its coal-like properties, the safety benefits due to
less dust and the fact that it can be stored outside — despite the
higher purchase price of the fuel, Weick said.

“Our first cargo was loaded in the rain, and the fuel was absolutely
fine,” he said. “Black pellets are around 10pc cheaper all-in, even
though the purchase price is higher."

Please visit ArgusMedia.com for more information.

Copyright © 2012 Argus Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By reading this article, you agree that you will not copy or reproduce any part of its contents (including, but not limited to single prices or any other individual items of data) in any form or for any purpose whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher.

Please visit ArgusMedia.com for more information.

Copyright © 2012 Argus Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By reading
this article, you agree that you will not copy or reproduce any part of
its contents (including, but not limited to single prices or any other
individual items of data) in any form or for any purpose whatsoever
without prior consent of the publisher.

 


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