Saskatchewan funds biomass briquette project

By Jerry W. Kram
Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment has awarded Titan Clean Energy Projects Corp. in Saskatoon with a $160,250 Green Technology Commercialization Grant to help bring its biomass briquetting technology to market. "We are a technology-neutral company that brings different technologies together in order to produce value-added products from biomass," said Jamie Bakos, chief executive officer of Titan Clean Energy Projects.

Titan Clean Energy's process will turn agricultural and forestry waste, including bark, sawdust and oat hulls, into a dense briquette using an extrusion process. The company is having a turnkey briquetting facility manufactured in Europe that will be moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and producing in early 2009. "We will be at the border between forestry and agricultural production in the province," Bakos said. "There are excellent opportunities for feedstocks in Canada for this technology."

Titan calls its briquettes Maratherm to acknowledge their long-burning capacity. The company is marketing these briquettes manufactured in Europe prior to the commissioning of the Canadian facility. It sells two products, a log-shaped fuel for residential heating and briquettes to replace coal in industrial boilers. "The log is a premium product for heating stoves," Bakos said. "It is very long-burning because of its low moisture and density. There are no waxes or paraffins that would make the log burn quickly. The bulk of our material will be used for industrial heating fuel to replace coal."

According to the company, the process has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 35,000 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 8,000 cars off the road each year. Bakos said the company believes its customers will be eligible for carbon credits, but at this time, the law in Saskatchewan isn't clear on that point. "Other provinces are making stronger moves toward greenhouse gas trading and valuation," he said. "We are in wait-and-see [mode] toward greenhouse gas credits, but we see that coming in the future."

Titan will use its grant for specific budget items, including capital, equipment and operating expenses for the project. "This is a very specialized process," Bakos said. "This technology is not operating in this country. We are bringing a new technology to the country to produce solid biomass fuel in a very innovative way."