$4 Million Demonstration Plant Grand Opening

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I know it has been some time since my last blog, but there has been good reason… I’ve been busy! This spring, we completed construction of our $4 million demonstration plant. The plant uses commercial grade equipment, and can be easily scaled up for construction of commercial sized plants anywhere a sustainable biomass supply is available.

The demonstration plant serves two needs: 1) building this plant helped us hone our torrefaction and densification processes before building a commercial sized plant, and 2) now we have a demonstration plant to perform smaller scale testing on all kinds of potential feedstock for our waste-to-energy technology. This includes various kinds of woody biomass as well as agricultural residue such as orchard prunings, sugar cane or coconut residue.

On October 18 we held a grand opening and tour of our new facility. This is the first time we have opened the plant to energy policy makers, forestry managers and others in the timber industry, and the response has been fantastic.

I want to thank all those who came to see just what we have been up to lately. Also, a big thank you to all those who helped with the event, including enthusiastic, significant help from Oregon BEST in getting the word out to attendees and members of the press, and Senator Wyden’s office in working us into his schedule. We relished the chance to give a tour to Senator Ron Wyden, a strong and most welcome supporter of our efforts over the years.

Torrefaction – wildfire prevention and rural jobs

Welcome to my very first blog. Naturally, I’ll talk about biomass torrefaction, something HM3 Energy has been working on since 2009. Biomass is what’s created from thinning overgrown and unhealthy forests, waste from sawmills and forest products manufacturing and after-harvest agriculture vegetation. It can be woody waste materials left over from home construction and remodeling. Our technology combines the age-old value of thriftiness with new-age innovation to produce renewable energy, more rural jobs and cleaner air from biomass.

We are now in the wildfire season in the US.  Forests that have not been managed (often due to underfunding) and are overstocked with fuel in the dry summer air and vulnerable to forest fires. These intense wildfires don’t discriminate between old growth and underbrush. They burn it all, filling the air with particulate and leaving a swath of blackened stubs and ash.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Woody biomass can collected before a wildfire occurs, as a part of wildfire prevention. This woody biomass feedstock can be used in the commercial production of torrefied biomass briquettes – a much more energy dense, water resistant biomass fuel that can actually replace coal in coal-fired power plants without modifications. Because it has 20 percent more energy than raw (traditional) wood pellets and burns more cleanly than raw wood pellets, it is a superior product for wood boilers as well.

Today, Oregon is just one example of a state that has chronic unemployment in rural communities. Oregon has millions of acres of federal, state and private forest lands that need management and thinning, or risk damage from fire and disease. With an end user of the forest slash, these piles would no longer be burned in place. They would be used to produce torrefied biomass, a carbon neutral energy, and thousands of rural jobs.

Many of you are familiar with raw wood pellets. Torrefied wood is a very different type of product that uses low value feedstock (forest slash) to produce very high energy briquettes that handle like coal, and have a similar BTU to coal, but without the terrible toxic emissions that coal spouts into the air.

There is a global race to commercialize this technology in the most efficient way, and HM3 Energy is proud to be acknowledged as one of the foremost contenders in the field. Stay tuned for more.

HM3 Energy