New torrefaction technology can help replace coal in power plants

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Coal was originally biomass, which was then transformed over millions of years into an extremely dry, energy-rich fuel.

Torkapparater has been developing drying and thermal HT technology of various kinds of material since 1937. The original customers were in the chemical and mining industries. Today the focus is more on environmentally driven activities within drying of biomass and sludge and thermal treatment of all kind of materials.

AB Torkapparater will present its own technology to torrefy biomass at World Bioenergy. The method has been known for a long time and involves drying wood in an oxygen-free environment at about 300 °C.
“The result is a coal-like material with great potential to be an environmentally suitable alternative to coal in existing power plants,” explains Johan Lilliehöök, sales manager for Torkapparater.

Energy self-generation

Torkapparater has developed an efficient process with low energy consumption. The process will be presented for the first time to a broader public at World Bioenergy. In simplified terms, the solution is this: During the process gases are generated that contain tar and other combustible substances. These are then used as fuel for the process, and so only a limited amount of additional energy is required.

The torrefaction process also increases the energy density of the biomass material, which basically means that a lot more energy can be transported on every truck or other carrier. Everyone who has ever done a lifecycle analysis knows that transports are becoming an increasingly important issue in terms of both cost and environmental effect. Savings in logistical cost is one of the main drivers for the development of torrefaction technology.

Suitable for existing power plants

Tests also show that torrefied fuel works well in existing power plants and requires less energy to grind compared with ordinary wood pellets.
This year Torkapparater expect to start up a pilot facility on an industrial scale in order to study and develop the process in detail. At the same time, the company is also working on other techniques of producing energy-efficient biofuel using pyrolysis and gasification, which work at higher temperatures.

30 per cent less energy

At World Bioenergy, Torkapparater will also present its experiences of another kind of drying facility. That was put into operation at the end of last year by the Rindi pellets manufacturer in Älvdalen, Sweden. For the first time, both a belt dryer and a drum dryer were used to dry material in a two step process. The heat from the drum was recovered in the belt dryer, thereby reducing energy consumption by 30 per cent.

These innovations and more will be presented by Torkapparater AB at World Bioenergy 25-27 May 2010 in Jönköping, Sweden.

Source: Elmia, World Bioenergy 2010

At the World Bioenergy conference and trade fair from 25-27 May in Jönköping, Sweden, the Swedish company Torkapparater AB will present their drying and torrefaction technology that transforms fresh biomass into a coal like substitute. The torrefaction process can also be used in other areas.

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