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EDF ends plans to develop new wood-based fuel

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EDF has put an end to its Ecocombust project, which would have developed a new waste wood-based fuel as an alternative to coal.

According to EDF, the conditions to continue the project were not met. The decision to cancel the plans was made for two reasons – the cost of the project, which would not make it possible to guarantee an attractive price for the final product and the recent withdrawal of an industrial partner.

EDF initiated the Ecocombust project in 2015. Since the end of 2018, the project consisted of both adapting the Cordemais (Loire-Atlantique) power plant to use this alternative fuel and producing pellets on-site by building a dedicated production plant. Cordemais is a thermal power station with two coal-fired units with a capacity of around 580 MW each.

The firm carried out the technical and environmental feasibility studies for the project. These results were obtained thanks to the ‘remarkable commitment and capacity for innovation’ of the teams involved in the project, said EDF. However, the innovative nature and lack of feedback on this type of product, as well as the recent surge in raw material prices, impacted the project’s cost.

Additionally, the partner with which EDF had opened discussions concerning the treatment of effluents from the pellet production plant, decided to withdraw from the project. As this delayed the industrial commissioning date to 2024, the Cordemais power plant would not have been able to generate electricity using an alternative fuel to coal over the 2022/2024 period.

EDF, therefore, decided to put an end to Ecocombust, despite the ‘remarkable commitment’ of the teams working on the project and the support of local stakeholders. The company noted this decision has no impact on the use of the Cordemais power plant, which will continue to meet the needs of the electricity system expressed by RTE, in compliance with the French Energy Code and energy climate law.