A Common Theme

Editor's Note from Issue 2 of Biomass Magazine
By Anna Simet | April 12, 2023

At the recent International Biomass Conference & Expo in Atlanta, I once again had the opportunity to moderate the industry leader roundtable discussion. A question that I make a point to ask our panelists every year is: What is our message? Or in other words, what is our industry’s major selling point? Should we embrace one collective message, or is it best for each specific sector to home in on its particular strength?  For the most part, all agreed that bioenergy’s decarbonization potential should be a major focus right now (the other major one was waste utilization), and many of the stories in this issue are reflective of that viewpoint. For a summary of the general session and a photo review, check out our page-14 feature, “All Options on the Table,” by staff writer Katie Schroeder.

On that note of decarbonization, our other feature, “The Power of Technology and Timing,” page 10, profiles Airex Energy, a Quebec-based company using a proprietary torrefaction technology to produce biocoal, biochar and biocarbon. Airex’s CEO Michel Gagnon chatted with me about the company’s history, technology and ongoing buildout, highlighting how the company’s progress has very conveniently aligned with the ramp up of global decarbonization policy and efforts. “The [torrefaction] industry itself has a lot of challenges, but there is a definitely a window [of opportunity] and we need to work hard to capture it,” he says.  With a new funding round of $38 million, Airex is laser focused on expanding production in North America and Europe.

As for our quarterly theme of operations and maintenance, several contributions dive into troubleshooting, preventative and corrective maintenance, and plant optimization and efficiency, for biomass power plants, biorefineries and biogas facilities. Be sure to check out page-10 contribution, “Avoiding Unplanned Shutdowns Due to Piping and Duct Failures,” by Interep’s CJ Horecky, who presented at the biomass conference and boiled his presentation down for this story. Horecky is a boots-on-the-ground guy whose experience and knowledge translates perfectly into this contribution.

Finally, I would like to make anyone interested in the sustainable aviation fuel space aware of a new event that our new sister publication, SAF Magazine, has launched: The National SAF Conference & Expo, which will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 29-30. Learn more at safmagazine.com under the events tab.

Anna Simet
[email protected]