BIOMASS TO ENERGY

30% of renewables by 2030

In 2013, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy reached 15% in Europe. To integrate at least 27% of renewable energy consumption in 2030 has been set as EU target (Source: AEBIOM-Statistical-Report-2015).

More than 60% is produced from biomass

Biomass is by far the leading renewable energy source with more than 60% in EU. The consumption of biomass for energy has doubled between 2000 and 2013 (105 Mtoe). It should keep progressing and increase by at least 33 Million tons of oil equivalent by 2020 (source: Eurostat).

At least 2 millions m3 additional resources

Potential additional wood energy resources in Switzerland (source: OFEN).

Our vision

Second grade biomass residues represent a great potential for renewable energies, but its use is limited due to it inhomogeneity and moisture content. Our objective is to develop and market a technology, the TORPLANT torrefaction process, which enables to bring additional, local, low-cost feedstock to the wood-to-energy chain by converting residues to a valuable and stable fuel with enhanced combustion properties. This technology is offered by Granit Technologies and Engineering (GRT) SA, in which GRT GROUP participates with 47%.

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Typical applications

  • Actors in the wood sector
  • Industries, collectivities or delegate of public service using or producing fuels from biomass
  • Actors of the energy sector looking for an alternative to fossil fuels
  • Actors involved in the management of a site that has low value woody biomass residues.

Target woody waste

The TORPLANT torrefaction process objective is to treat lignocellulosic biomass such as:

  • Forest residues
  • Urban trimming residues
  • Agriculture, horticulture, or fruit tree growing residues
  • Green waste from civic amenities
  • Woody residues from the private sector (for example: biogas plants)
  • Roadside greenery

Process description

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Torrefaction is a thermal pre-treatment process that reduces the oxygen content, increases the calorific density and the homogeneity of biomass residues, making possible its use as a solid fuel of high value.

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Woody biomass residues are collected and shredded.

  1. The material is fed through a specific conveyor belt into a fine crusher to produce smaller size chips (40 – 60 mm).
  2. The biomass is transferred into a tumbling dryer heated by combustion gases and thermal oil. The biomass humidity content decreases to less than 5%.
  3. Then, the biomass enters the torrefactor and is gently heated under anoxic conditions, at a temperature between 210- 250 °C depending on the quality of the raw biomass.
  4. Finally, the temperature of the biomass is decreased rapidly, permitting storage or the entering to a pelletisation unit.
  5. The torrefaction gases are valorized though combustion to heat the thermal oil.
  6. To insure clean rejections, the exhaust gases pass through a catalyzer, and then are released into the atmosphere.

After torrefaction, woody biomass is hydrophobic which means the calorific value of the stock will not significantly vary depending on the humidity content of the atmosphere. Hence, low quality feedstock is transformed into a fuel with good storage properties that is well suited for combustion or gasification and also for densification and transport in the form of pellets.

The torrefied product can be used under several forms:

Torrefied chips

Torrefied pellets

(EN Norm due to be released end of 2016)

Pulverized torrefied biomass

Key figures for plant design

The technology has been developed to respond to energy demands based on the use of local available biomass residues. The profitability of an industrial scale plant is set for an output of 500 kg/h, based on Swiss costs.

Minimum feedstock - 20 000 to 30 000 m3/year (depending on humidity content). Interesting savings are associated to the use of torrefied products

  • Savings on input material costs as low-value woody biomass can be included
  • Savings on storage costs as there is no need of installing a hermetic container
  • Savings on transport costs as the energy density is increased by one third
  • Savings on CO2 taxes as woody biomass is almost carbon-neutral
  • Savings on operating costs as the combustion or gasification of torrefied products produces less fouling


Of course the financial figures can vary depending on specific local parameters. The final financial figures are defined in the feasibility study of the project.

Deliveries

  • Biomass residues qualification and specification of feeding process
  • Industrial project development (feasibility study, risk analysis)
  • Project management
  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Construction, installation and commissioning
  • Operation and Maintenance

References

TORPLANT pilot plant

(Orbe)