Raw vs Torrefied Biomass Properties

Most references to burning woody biomass to produce electricity refer to the use of hog fuel or conventional wood pellets, which have different energy content and handling than torrefied biomass briquettes.

Cost Analysis of HM3 Energy’s Torrefied Briquettes vs Raw Pellets as Coal Replacement Fuel

  • Hog fuel is very bulky and heavy to transport and is generally used in smaller power plants close to the hog fuel. Facilities dedicated to burning hog fuel are ideally located within 50 to 75 miles of  the woody biomass used as fuel.
  • Conventional wood pellets are shipped long distances to be used in power plants with dedicated biomass boilers; however, they are not water-proof, so must be shipped and stored under cover.
  • Neither hog fuel nor conventional wood pellets can be co-fired with coal without extensive investment in the coal power plant.  Coal boilers are designed to blow pulverized coal into the combustion chamber, where specific operating parameters are controlled.  Wood ground even as small as sawdust cannot be readily co-fired without plant modifications. Besides, none of these fuels are water resistant, like coal, so shipping and handling would involve great expense to add cover.

Torrefaction changes the chemical composition and traits of biomass so it can be shipped economically in open rail cars for long distances (like coal) and stored without cover. Torrefied biomass properties allow it to be handled much like coal and easily pulverized prior to feeding. It does not require plant modifications because of these torrefied biomass properties.


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