Wood Pellets

A consortium comprising Topell Energy, Essent, Nuon, GDF Suez and ECN has completed a co-firing test with a renewable energy source at the Amer power plant in Geertruidenberg in the Netherlands.

Conducted under the ‘Top consortium for Knowledge and Innovation Bio-based Economy’ (TKI BBE) initiative, the test has successfully proven the technology that promises production of renewable energy with ‘biopellets’ from biomass.

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Dutch Essent power plants head Nikolaus Valerius said as part of the tests on the ‘torrefaction’ technology at the plant, the consortium dried biomass and converted it into light, dry and energy-dense ‘biopellets’.

Under the trials, the consortium has transported, handled, co-milled and co-fired a total of around 2,300t of ‘biopellets’ at the Amer plant, which has been producing green electricity with sustainable biomass for more than ten years.

Topell Energy CEO Rob Voncken said the co-firing test was carried out between 1 November and 30 December 2013, which took place in percentages ranging between 5% and 25%, and reported no adverse effect on milling and burning.

"The trial therefore makes torrefied biomass a potential more-efficient alternative to conventional wood pellets."

Confirming the production of high quality ‘biopellets’ and co-firing at a large commercial scale, the trial therefore makes torrefied biomass a potential more-efficient alternative to conventional wood pellets to substitute fossil fuels.

"The successful large scale co-firing of the biopellets is an important step in our contribution to a renewable energy supply where green materials are most efficiently and sustainably used," said Valerius.

Having completed successful trials, some of the parties involved in TKI BBE are currently in discussions to mobilise larger quantities of torrefied pellets for electricity generation in order to meet the requisites of the Dutch energy agreement, which will come into force in 2015.

Image: Consortium proves a new technology to produce renewable energy with ‘biopellets’ from biomass. Photo: courtesy of Essent.