Torrefied Biomass As Coal Replacement Fuel: Market Acceptance Challenges Due to the Disruptive Technology

International Congress on Energy (ICE)
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 30, 2012 - 4:00pm-4:30pm
Torrefied woody biomass in pelletized or briquette form has been demonstrated to be a functional replacement for coal in powdered coal fired systems.  This solid fuel has virtually no sulfur, mercury or other harmful metal contaminants, produces lower NOX emissions, and has the same or higher energy value per unit mass than coal.  According to power plant operations staff, torrefied biomass would be a plug-in replacement for coal, requireing no significant modification of the coal handling system and only minor fine tuning of the combustion process, not unlike that required when changing from different coal mine sources.  But even with these 'perfect' atributes, there is great reluctance for customers to switch to this sustainable and carbon neutral fuel source.  The attributes of the raw material supply logistics, product performance validation and scope of the process plant scale of operation to provide a sustainable supply of torrefied biomass in the context of an environmentally acceptable solution will be presented.
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