Pellet & Power News Roundup

By Biomass Magazine | August 03, 2022

Denmark-based Orsted A/S is planning to establish carbon capture at its wood chip-fired Asaes Power Station in Kalundborg in Zealand, Denmark, and the Avedore Power Station’s straw-fired boiler in the Greater Copenhagen area. The technology and logistics for handling and storing carbon from the two combined-heat-and-power plants are in place, Orsted reported, and if financial support is obtained from the current tender for carbon capture and storage, the company can be ready to capture and store 400,000 metric tons of carbon as early as 2025.

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. broke ground on Ozu Biomass Power Plant in early June, a 50-MW, wood pellet-fueled facility under development in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. JAPEX is working with Maeda Corp., Yonden Business Co. Inc., and Shinko Denso Co. to develop the project. Electricity produced at the facility will be sold to Shikoku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Co. Inc. under the country’s feed-in tariff system for renewable energy. The facility will be fueled by imported wood pellets. Full-scale operations are expected to require the use of approximately 200,000 metric tons of wood pellets annually. Commercial operations are currently expected to begin in August 2024.

The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association on June 28 welcomed continued support for sustainable sourcing of “primary woody biomass” by the EU Council’s General Approach for revising the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII).  Amendments to the directive that would declassify primary woody biomass as renewable energy were proposed by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee in May, but failed to gain momentum after the Transport, Regional Development, Agriculture and Development Committees all voted to continue the use of primary woody biomass, and they are now joined by the 27 member states of the EU. While the European Commission and Council do not support declassifying primary biomass, parliament has yet to establish its position on the matter. USIPA expects a plenary vote in early fall, paving the way for interinstitutional negotiations among all three branches of the EU government to begin by the end of the year.

FutureMetrics LLC published a white paper focused on how inflation could impact the industrial wood pellet industry, particularly costs associated with feedstock harvesting, pellet production and transportation. The paper, authored by FutureMetrics President William Strauss, discusses how diesel fuel prices impact the cost of harvest operations and transporting raw material to the pellet mill. It also illustrates how inflationary pressures related to raw materials, labor, electricity and other expenses could impact the operating costs for a typical 500,000-metric-ton-per-year pellet plant. The paper explains that mills that can utilize rail shipping to transport wood pellets from factory to port are likely to feel less significant impacts. Facilities that ship wood pellets to port via truck are much more likely to be negatively impacted by the high price of diesel fuel, particularly for facilities that must transport wood pellets relatively long distances. In addition, the paper analyzes the impact of inflation on costs to load pellets onto a ship and transport them to Europe.

Enviva Inc., the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets, held a ceremonial gathering at its newly opened terminal at the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, on June 15 to commemorate the first shipment of sustainably sourced biomass to international power and heat producers, with a majority of the port’s future shipments slated for Japan. Approximately 18,000 metric tons of wood pellets produced at Enviva’s newest plant in Lucedale, Mississippi, were loaded onto the UBC Sacramento at the Port of Pascagoula, destined for the ports of Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, and Fort-de-France, Martinique. Through collaboration with the Jackson County Port Authority, Enviva now owns and operates the deep-water marine terminal in the Bayou Casotte Harbor. It serves as the shipment point for pellets manufactured throughout the Gulf region, via Enviva’s newly opened Lucedale, Mississippi, plant and forthcoming plants in Epes, Alabama, and Bond, Mississippi. Since 2019, Enviva has invested over $60 million to build the terminal at the Port of Pascagoula, which can receive product by rail, barge and truck, as well as support Panamax-sized vessels. The facility currently has two wood pellet storage domes, each with 45,000 metric tons of storage capacity.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released the June edition of its Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report, which contains data for March. The EIA collected data from 80 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel to complete the report. Collectively, respondents purchased 1.72 million tons of raw biomass feedstock in March and produced approximately 920,000 tons of densified biomass fuel, with sales reaching 880,000 tons. Domestic sales of densified biomass fuel in March 2022 totaled 70,000 tons and averaged $196.95 per ton, with production at 140,682 tons and inventory at 249,000 tons. Exports in March 2022 were 810,000 tons and averaged $183.84 per ton, with production at 779,786 tons and inventories reaching 347,147 tons. The next edition was due to be released July 20.

CHAR Technologies Ltd. announced the City of Saint-Félicien, Québec, has received CA$2.8 million in government funding to support the company’s waste heat recovery system at the forest biomass cogeneration plant in Saint-Félicien. The waste heat recovery system is a first step in a larger, staged approach toward CHAR’s proposed and proprietary high-temperature pyrolysis system. The project would produce both biocarbon and renewable natural gas.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering Ltd. has launched full-scale operation of a compact CO2 capture system ordered in November 2021 by Taihei Dengyo Kaisha Ltd. It is the first system of its kind to go into commercial operation, according to MHIENG. The compact CO2 capture system was installed at a 7-MW biomass power plant operated by Taihei Dengyo in Seifu Shinto, a suburb of Hiroshima City, Japan. The system has the capacity to capture 0.3 metric tons per day and is based on a highly versatile, standardized design that requires an installation space of five meters long and two meters wide. CO2 captured from the plant’s flue gas will be used for growing vegetables in on-site greenhouses. The biomass power plant where the system was installed was delivered by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Power IDS Ltd. in October 2019. As a next step, MHIENG will perform a demonstration test of operational support services for the plant, using a proprietary remote monitoring system.