News item | 2010-06-04 | 15:00 PM

Vattenfall supports development of biomass technology

Vattenfall is supporting a new technology for upgrading biomass to high-quality solid fuel. It has been developed by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), which has now entered into partnership with Vattenfall for testing it on a large scale – an important step towards commercial application.

The BO2 technology is a combination of heat treatment (torrefaction) and densification into pellets or briquettes of biomass. It allows a great diversity of biomass (such as wood cuttings and fluid agricultural waste) to be upgraded to high-quality solid biofuels.

In recent years, ECN has carried out extensive tests of this technology in the laboratory and on a pilot scale (50-100 kg/h). A larger-scale demonstration is the next logical step towards commercial application. Vattenfall will work out the technical requirements for a demonstration plant.

Torrefaction means that the biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen up to a temperature of 200 to 300 °C, the same principle used to roast coffee beans. This treatment changes the properties of the biomass so that it becomes easier to grind and more stable, allowing it to be stored outdoors. It subsequently assumes a solid form by densification, making it suitable for transport and co-firing in coal-fired power plants. The solid biofuel contains more than 90 percent of the energy of the original biomass.

The EU considers torrefaction as a key technology for reducing emissions and enabling it to reach its 2020 target.

Vattenfall is one of Europe’s largest users of biomass and expects this fuel to acquire increased importance in the future. Vattenfall sees BO2 technology within a strategic perspective for attaining the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and developing energy solutions for a sustainable society.

For further information, please contact:
Edvard Lind, acting head of Media Relations, telephone +46 8 739 56 74, mobile +46 70 358 63 30.