Vencor acquires bio-coal purchase order, anticipates expansion

By Katie Fletcher | January 29, 2015

Vencor International Inc., a company in the torrefaction business, made a few announcements mid-January regarding its production. One of the announcements was an agreement to acquire the exclusive rights to torrefaction equipment and technology from Torretherm Inc. This acquisition is said to increase the company’s production capacity to meet its growing product demand. The second announcement was made in regards to receiving a purchase order from its client Vega Biofuels Inc., valued at approximately $600,000 for 3,000 tons of bio-coal.

Torretherm currently produces equipment capable of producing 5 tons of torrefied pellets per hour. Vencor’s CEO James Gaspard stated that this is probably the most significant move the company has made to date. He added that one of his ongoing concerns is having enough capacity to meet demand. “We have deals that we haven't been able to make because we didn't have sufficient capacity,” Gaspard said. “The first machine will be online later this month and will increase our production capacity by approximately 30,000 tons annually.”

Vencor’s torrefied wood pellets look, act and burn like coal made primarily from timber waste and a low-percentage infusion of sulfur. The pellets are created by heating the biomass feedstock between 475 to 575 degrees Fahrenheit in a low-oxygen environment. 

This news was followed a few days later by Vencor’s announcement that it had received a purchase order to produce bio-coal. Biomass Magazine reported in December the company entered into the agreement to provide bio-coal to Vega for shipment to Vega’s European clients after the product passed a series of tests. Developed by Vega, the bio-coal is a form of the torrefied wood pellets with an energy density up to 13,000 Btu’s per pound.

Vencor is expected to begin production on this order by the end of the month using the torrefaction equipment acquired from Torretherm. “The Torretherm deal allows us to produce various torrefied wood products much cheaper than any other torrefaction technology,” Gaspard said in a statement. “We are excited about this deal and look forward to working with Vega Biofuels to meet their production needs.”