Portuguese firm Futerra Torrefaçao e Tecnologia (Futerra Fuels) has commenced production of white and torrefied pellets at its new facility.
The plant in Valongo, near Porto, includes six torrefaction lines delivered by Yilkins, which are embedded in the broader plant set-up developed by Futerra Fuels. The facility can switch production from regular white wood pellets to torrefied pellets, depending on market demand and conditions.
The white pellet and torrefaction lines were commissioned at the end of 2019 and mid-2020, respectively. Due to the pandemic, there was a major delay in finishing the construction phase of system interfaces and consequently the start-up and de-bottlenecking of the plant.
Futerra Fuels also reported COVID-19 has jeopardised necessary travel and the possibility of contractors to react quickly, which has negatively impacted personnel availability at Futerra, Yilkins, and other suppliers on-site. Due to related restrictions, it has been difficult to find qualified staff to work on-site 24/7; however, this is expected to be solved soon.
In the coming months, the production of white pellets will be increased step-by-step, with modest commercial production of torrefied pellets targeted to supply first commercial quantities to the market. In 2021, further investments will help to gradually increase the production of torrefied pellets at the facility.