New technology for Vega Biofuels torrefaction plant

Vega Biofuels' joint venture partner, Agri-Tech Producers (ATP) , has developed a new, patent-pending process that reduces the cost of some of the biomass feedstock for the company's pilot torrefaction plant in South Carolina, US.

Vega recently entered into the joint venture to build and operate a pilot manufacturing plant in Allendale for the production of biocoal, among other torrefied products. When completed in Q1 2015, the plant will use a patented torrefaction technology to produce the biocoal from plant and wood biomass, which will then be used to generate renewable electricity.

As a way to dramatically reduce biomass feedstock costs, while substantially expanding the availability of nearby forest and bio-crop acreage, ATP has developed a combined 'Site Remediation Biomass and Bio-Coal Production' (SRBBP) process, which uses the phytoremediation powers of the roots of certain fast-growing trees and bio-crops that have been planted to clean contaminated sites; then, using a partner company's patented leaching process to remove the toxins and other problematic substances from the biomass; and finally, torrefying the biomass to make biocoal and other bio-products.

Michael Molen, chairman and CEO of Vega Biofuels, says: 'Through ATP's SRBBP process, we will be planting certain trees and bio-crops and using them twice, effectively cutting their cost in half for both the remediation and the torrefaction processes.'

After developing its SRBBP process, ATP has begun working with the US EPA's RE-Powering America's Land Initiative, which facilitates renewable energy activity on former and currently contaminated sites.

Upon request, EPA provided ATP a list and map showing nearly 170 contaminated sites, totalling approximately 250,000 acres, within a 75-mile radius of the Allendale pilot plant and 66,000 contaminated sites nationwide, totalling approximately 35 million acres.

Joseph James, ATP's president, and Vega advisory board member, states: 'Our new SRBBP process can be replicated all over the US and around the world, wherever there is substantial contaminated site acreage convenient to a torrefaction plant. This should either help stimulate more use of biocoal in the US, or otherwise enhance our profits.'

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