Terra Green Energy, LLC. and American Refining and Biochemical, Inc (ARB), an affiliate of American Refining Group, Inc. (ARG) of Bradford, Pennsylvania, are collaborating to develop a biomass pre-treatment technology known as torrefaction. Preliminary engineering has been successfully completed. The primary goal of the project is to develop a technology capable of producing a renewable coal substitute solid fuel on a commercial basis. Made from biomass, this green, renewable fuel can be incorporated into the fuel mix of coal-burning power plants thereby lowering emissions of regulated materials without the need for costly modifications to their fuel handling and combustion systems.
Torrefaction is a mild pyrolysis or “roasting” pretreatment process carried out between 250o C and 300o C in the absence of oxygen. The company has successfully completed testing on mixed Northern hardwoods and switchgrass. Almost all types of biomass can be torrefied including forestry residues, agricultural residues, grasses, and “on-purpose” grown energy crops such as hybrid poplars or willows. The torrefaction process results in a product that handles like coal, is carbon neutral and the use of which will result in a reduction of greenhouse gases such as NOx, SOx, and CO2. In addition, torrefied biomass contains almost no heavy metals such as mercury, another significant advantage over coal. This “Green Coal” has an increased calorific value, 9,500 to 10,500 Btu/lb., and is hydrophobic, permitting storage outdoors.
The torrefaction development effort is the recipient of a $1 million PEDA grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for use in the building of the first torrefaction facility.
Terra Green Energy, LLC and ARB are looking for appropriate partners, excited about the tremendous potential of this new technology, to assist with the completion of the development effort and interested in participating in its commercialization thereafter.