Foundation stone laid at world’s first biocoal pellet plant

Construction has begun on what will be the world’s first commercial-scale biocoal pellet plant in Duiven, Gelderland province, the Netherlands.

The €15 million plant, owned by German renewable energy provider RWE Innogy and torrified pellet manufacturer Topell Energy, has the capacity to produce 60,000 tonnes of pellets each year and should be up and running by 2011.

Essent, a subsidiary of RWE, based in the Netherlands, will be the first company to use the pellets. Throughout a five-year period the pellets will be supplied to its Amer plant to be fired alongside coal.

Co-firing biocoal pellets with regular coal can be extremely economical as no alterations to the existing equipment are needed, for example separate storage.

‘As a leading operator of coal-fired plants we consider it to be our responsibility to reduce the CO2 emissions of electricity generation as much as possible,’ said Leonhard Birnbaum, RWE board member. ‘Our intention was to commercialise a new process for the production of efficient biocoal, which significantly improves and extends the potential applications of biomass.’

In similar news RWE is also building what will be one of the world’s biggest wood pellet plants in Georgia, US. The plant is costing €129 million to build and will have a yearly output capacity of 750,000 tonnes.

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