Wood pellet producer Enviva and oil major ConocoPhillips have formed a joint venture company, Eco Biomass Technologies, which will manufacture torrefied biomass fuels.
The 50/50 JV's initial factory will be operational in 2013, when it will begin producing wood pellets for use by utility companies.
Torrefied wood pellets are similar to coal but burn with reduced carbon emissions. This enables utility companies to reduce their carbon emissions without a significant capital outlay.
'Although torrefaction is widely used in many industries, its adaptation to the renewable energy industry has yet to be proven cost-effective and scalable,' says John Keppler, Enviva chairman and CEO. 'Our partnership with ConocoPhillips is designed to bring this new, sustainable, renewable fuel to the power generation industry and enable our utility customers to reduce their generation industry and enable our utility customers to reduce their environmental impact in a cost-effective manner.'
Eco Biomass will target markets where large utility companies are looking to upgrade their power production facilities to use renewable fuels, including North America, Europe and Asia.