CoalSwitch Expands To Second Facility

Active Energy Group (AEG) has announced Ashland, Maine as the location for its second CoalSwitch production facility. AEG has partnered with Player Design, Inc. (PDI) to complete the facility which, at scale, could produce up to 35,000 tons of CoalSwitch per year.

“We are seeing increased demand for our next-generation biomass pellets from customers in North America,” says Michael Rowan, CEO of AEG. “Our partnership with PDI and the support from the state of Maine will enable us to accelerate production of CoalSwitch to help reduce overall CO2 emissions from the power generation industry.”

CoalSwitch is a “drop-in” biomass feedstock that can co-fire with coal or replace up to 100% of the coal in power stations without requiring plant modification, according to AEG. AEG’s technology converts residuals from lumber operations as well as residuals from forestry operations into CoalSwitch, which burns at temperatures nearly identical to coal, but cleaner and more efficiently while producing less ash.

PDI already has an operational log processing facility in Ashland, which has been expanded to accommodate CoalSwitch production. PDI and AEG were granted a temporary operating permit by the State of Maine in April 2021 to allow the construction of the facility as well as immediate operations between May 15 and July 31 to produce an initial amount of 1,000 oven dried tons of fuel.

“PDI has built a close working relationship with the team at AEG over many months. We have seen the potential that CoalSwitch can present to the biomass industry,” says Tyler Player, CEO of Player Design. “The opportunity to add a new production facility in Maine is important, not only to allow Player Design to further demonstrate the potential of the fuel and its production process, but also to enable a wider North American audience to appreciate the future of next generation biomass fuels.”

All parties intend to present the operating data from this facility to the Department of Environmental Protection within the State of Maine as soon as production commences in late May, with the aim of securing a long-term operating permit for the Ashland facility.

CoalSwitch produced at the Ashland facility will be shipped to PacifiCorp’s Hunter Power Plant in Castle Dale, Utah for a coal/biomass co-firing demonstration scheduled for June 2021. PacifiCorp is the largest grid operator in the Western United States serving the growing energy demands of 1.9 million customers.

“The State of Maine is excited for the prospects of CoalSwitch production at the Ashland Facility,” adds State Senator Troy Jackson, who is also President of the Maine Senate. “The State of Maine wants to see new technologies developed for the biomass industry and assisting companies like PDI and AEG to develop new commercial, environmentally-friendly processes is our utmost priority.”

Active Energy Group plc is a London-based renewable energy company. The company is also developing a commercial production facility in Lumberton, North Carolina.

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