Biocoal partnership to build global operation

The companies plan to developing process technology and supply capacity for the fuel, which can be used in coal-fired power stations with minimal effort.

The companies Clean Energy Generation (CEG) and Stork have initiated a partnership between multiple companies to accelerate the development of biocoal technology, which they say significantly reduces carbon emissions and increases the use of biomass. According to the partnership, biocoal can be used in coal-fired power station with no major adjustments.

Biomass is converted into biocoal through what’s known as ‘torrefaction’ technology. In this process, the biomass is converted via a thermal refining process. This creates a relatively cheap fuel with a high energy density.

In the form of pellets, biocoal can be used in traditional coal-fired plants and in industrial heating processes, buildings or city district heating projects. CEG says that 2.5 tons of CO2 is saved per tonne of biocoal compared to coal. The company also claims that biocoal’s energy value is higher and less storage and transport is needed than traditional sustainable alternatives. During the production of biocoal, the installation also produces green electricity and heat.

The first new biocoal plant is planned for Estonia. CEG and Stork are currently working on the front end engineering and design of the installation. Construction is due to begin Q3 2018. At the same time the companies will continue working on installations in Finland and outside of Europe, with a primary focus on North America.

CEG has already developed a production facility for biocoal on a commercial scale, which they say makes biocoal a viable and sustainable alternative to fossil coal. The company also has a biocoal production facility in Derby, United Kingdom; the new factory in Estonia will be five times bigger than this facility.

“We are the only party who is controlling this technology on a commercially applicable scale and who owns the intellectual property of it,” said CEG chief executive Erik Huis in a statement.

“Now, together with all partners, we take the final hurdle to raise biocoal to a worldwide standard. It will pave the way to make biocoal a sustainable bulk product, so that it becomes accessible to everyone. That is our ultimate goal. The energy giants of this world follow every step we take closely and find alignment with our process, because it is a sustainable alternative for their entire chain of fossil processes.”

Other companies within the partnership include Carrier, which will supply essential parts for the production facilities, and investment company Momentum Capital, majority shareholder of CEG. In addition, several large international energy companies have indicated that they want to join the partnership, says CEG.

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