Biomass to Energy Solvay Produces Torrefied Biomass for Coal Substitution in the US

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Solvay starts the production of torrefied biomass, which handles and burns similarly to coal, in the US. This substance could contribute significantly to the energy transition in the states, the company believes.

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Belgium Brussels Headquarters of Solvay - The Belgian company has started the production of torrefied biomass in the US.
Belgium Brussels Headquarters of Solvay - The Belgian company has started the production of torrefied biomass in the US.
(Picture: Jean Michel Byl - Solvay photolibrary)

Brussels/Belgium – Torrefied biomass is produced through torrefaction, a process that modifies the chemical properties of waste wood and biomass. Torrefied biomass can immediately and practically substitute coal, enabling power plants to generate clean energy, Solvay stated.

Today, some power plants in Europe use traditional wood pellets to replace coal. Torrefied biomass, however, contains 35% more energy by weight than wood pellets, which also yields significant logistical benefits to customers. Moreover, Solvay is improving the water repellent properties of torrefied biomass to further enhance its storage and handling properties.

Production of Biomass in Missisipi

"This new business has a two-fold objective: on the one hand, to offer innovative and competitive solutions to utilities and energy companies, allowing them to lower the cost of using biomass in their plants, and in parallel to expand our access to biomass and to create new biosourced applications. Solvay aims to further develop products and technologies that support the global transition to sustainable energy," said Philippe Rosier, President of Solvay Energy Services.

Torrefied biomass is produced in Quitman, Mississippi at a plant that was built and developed by NBE. Solvay will provide its industrial expertise to more than triple annual production capacity to 250,000 tons by the end of 2014 from 80,000 tons currently. Solvay Biomass Energy will use by-products, such as sawmill residues, from the highly developed timber industry in the area's managed forests.

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