HM3 Energy Achieves Breakthrough In Replacing Coal With Biomass

A Gresham, Oregon-based cleantech startup and Northwest winner of the 2011 Cleantech Open has taken a big step toward someday replacing coal with biomass to make large-scale thermal power generation carbon neutral. Torrefied biomass is forest debris that has been converted to charcoal. Torrefied biomass technology provides a path for coal-fired electric generation plants to […]

A Gresham, Oregon-based cleantech startup and Northwest winner of the 2011 Cleantech Open has taken a big step toward someday replacing coal with biomass to make large-scale thermal power generation carbon neutral.

Torrefied biomass is forest debris that has been converted to charcoal. Torrefied biomass technology provides a path for coal-fired electric generation plants to continue operating cost effectively while using biomass in place of coal. With all the pressure on utilities to shut down coal power plants or convert them to natural gas, torrification would seem to hold great promise once it is commercialized at scale.

Densification into sturdy, water-resistant briquettes or pellets makes it less expensive to transport the replacement fuel to power plants in open hopper rail cars. HM3 Energy claims to have successfully demonstrated densification of torrefied forest waste on commercial-scale equipment using proprietary technology.

The company said in an email yesterday, “We were able to consistently produce sturdy, water resistant briquettes on the densification equipment after making some further simple modifications. 24-hour soak tests of the briquettes revealed them to be hard and water resistant just like coal.”

From SeattlePI.com: http://blog.seattlepi.com/energy/2012/11/30/hm3-energy-achieves-breakthrough-in-replacing-coal-with-biomass/

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