Vega files provisional patent for G4 torrefaction machine

By Vega Biofuels Inc. | November 25, 2016

Vega Biofuels Inc. recently announced that it has filed a provisional patent application for its generation four (G4) torrefaction machine. Vega said that its G4 torrefaction machine increases the manufacturing capacity by approximately 25 percent. Vega believes that portions of the process for the new machine are unique in the current marketplace and therefore, filed the provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under the title "Method and Apparatus for Torrefying Biomass." The application disclosure relates generally to wood used as a fuel source, and more particularly to systems, methods, and devices for torrefying biomass, such as wood or other agricultural biomass.

Torrefaction is a special process technology that converts timber into a renewable energy alternative to traditional coal for utility owned pulverized coal-fired power plants around the world. Torrefaction is a partial carbonization process at temperatures between 475 – 575 degrees Fahrenheit (200 – 400 degrees Celsius) in a low oxygen environment. The physical and energetic properties of the biomass are then much more comparable to conventional coal. Vega's torrefied fuel product is called Bio-Coal. Bio-Coal has a high-energy density of up to 13,000 Btu per pound and is considered a renewable energy fuel that meets the renewable portfolio standards and renewable energy credits (RECs) in the United States. Existing coal-fired power plants can utilize the bio-coal without making significant changes to their current infrastructure. The torrefaction machines are manufactured by the company and its joint venture partner in eastern Kentucky. The new machine is the company's fourth generation model and includes a pre-dryer that partially dries the biomass prior to the torrefaction process. This step increases the capacity of the machine by approximately 25 percent by allowing the biomass to pass through the roasting chamber at a faster speed.

"We are very proud of the capabilities of the new machine and in order to protect the company and its partners, we felt it was important to file the patent application. We feel that this machine is the most unique and durable machine currently in the marketplace," stated Michael K. Molen, chairman and CEO of Vega Biofuels.