Talking Torrefaction at IBCE

By Anna Simet | February 28, 2014

It’s about three weeks until the International Biomass Conference & Expo—and the Pellet Supply Chain Summit preconference—and I’d like to bring to your attention an exceptionally interesting torrefaction panel.

It’s the last panel on the last day, but I assure you, it’ll be worth staying for. And not just because I’m moderating, of course.  If torrefaction is of interest to you, you won’t be stifling any yawns.

“Drop-In Biomass: Using Torrefaction to Produce a Fuel that More Seamlessly Integrates with Coal Combustion Infrastructure,” is going to feature five speakers who will present on their respective technologies/research—four from universities or research organizations, and one company.

Yesterday I chatted on the phone with panelist Donald Fosnacht from the University of Minnesota Duluth (who is actually the last speaker of this final panel), where he is director of the Center for Applied Research & Technical Development.

He’s going to present six years worth of work and data collecting, he told me, and discuss a hydrothermal torrefied biomass technology. They’ve reached a milestone, he said, and are ready to move to the next level, which involves partnering up and building a pilot plant at Natural Resources Research Institute’s Coleraine Minerals Research Laboratory.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll leave it at that.

Other speakers include:

Sudhagar Mani, associate arofessor, University of Georgia

Amber Broch, assistant research engineer, Desert Research Institute

Andreas Pilz, Department of Thermo Chemical Conversion, Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH

Andrew Eyer, process engineer, Fiber Technologies Division, Andritz Inc.

I’ve been really interested in torrefaction since I joined the industry about six years ago. I’ve seen so many startups pop up here and there with big plans to build production facilities, but it hasn’t happened on any significant level in the U.S. Recently, it seems there may be some companies that seem to be making good progress, though, such as Thermogen, and I know there are others who prefer to work quietly.

So anyway, before you make your flight arrangements—if you haven’t already—consider sticking around for this panel.

See you in Orlando.