The technology has been in R&D operation since 2013 and is now in production operation mode. The technology has been installed for torrefaction in both the Netherlands and the UK, with two full scale production lines currently in operation in Derby, UK.
CEG’s unique torrefaction process converts biomass into biocoal, biochar or byproducts utilizing our proprietary torrefaction reactor.
CEG’s unique torrefaction thermal processing converts biomass into biocoal, biochar or byproducts, utilising our proprietary torrefaction reactor. Biocoal can then be converted into renewable energy in conventional power generation or heating facilities. Biochar can be utilised for agriculture, medical, water filtration, and other purposes.
Our torrefaction reactor is internally modified, an adaptation of a proven Carrier dryer, which has been patented by CEG. Although all moving parts remain the same as the original Carrier reactor, we have developed novel heat exchange and processing techniques to transfer heat in an extremely efficient and safe manner, separating flue gasses from syngas. Key technology innovation areas have been implemented in the heat exchanger, within the material handling both into and from the reactor, cooling and storage of torrefied material, dry pelletising of torrefied material and in the overall process control for the plant.
The core of our process is the Carrier vibratory dryer, of which more than 5,000 units have been manufactured and put into the market over the last 30 years. The Carrier vibratory dryer typically achieves very high availability. We have entered into an exclusive long-term partnership with Carrier and adapted it with our own patented engineering which features into a CEG torrefaction reactor.
We have internally modified the Carrier dryer and how it would be integrated as a heat exchanger in a torrefaction process. We have innovatively optimised process safety and efficiency in such a way that we have a compact, safe, simple and easily adaptable plant design. There are several other technologies in development for torrefaction, but all of these technologies are considered “innovative” as the technology, in general, as strong technical additionality. Our technology has been independently verified as innovative by the UK Government and has been in operation at our demonstration plant in Derby, UK since 2014.
Our use of modules means that the units are quick and easy to deliver on standard road transport, can be positioned onto low cost foundations, into standard industrial steel buildings (torrefaction building <14m high), and mechanically installed within 1 day.
The torrefaction reactor is able to handle a wide variety of virgin or waste feedstocks, including chips or pelletized materials. We normally wish to process G15 chip, microchips or pellets, but we can usually determine a compromise specification for unusual feedstocks.
We are able to control the performance envelope of each individual heat exchanger, and therefore the product quality, very quickly (within 15 minutes), because the compact units each have a small throughput compared to the entire plant.
Our technology and partial oxidation use an innovative approach to torrefaction in that it uses a combination of conduction and convection. The oxidation of syngas is separated from the biomass torrefaction zone of the heat exchanger which prevents air ingress and assures process safety.
Our CEG torrefaction plants can be perfectly sized to accommodate a wood basket resource, using our modular plant approach.
Each project will have a particular size of wood basket depending on the geographical location and individual forest resource, and by using truck transportable modules, we can adapt our process plant design to meet this resource design and because of this be optimised to meet the commercial needs of the project.
By using horizontal modules, we can have a low-profile plant footprint, using standard industrial buildings. Most comparable projects use a large and tall single or twin reactor, which means that the large unit size forces very significant foundations, and a very high building height (usually two or three times the height which our plant requires).
The individual heat exchange plant modules have an efficient counterflow design; we maximise energy efficiency for both torrefaction and drying. Our mass and energy balances have been verified by both Rejlers and Pöyry which both are renowned international consulting and engineering companies in the energy field. We are able to demonstrate this thermal and electrical efficiency both in theory and in practical experience on site in Derby.
Biomass mechanical handling can be notoriously difficult, however, our plant has very significant process redundancy afforded by the use of individual process modules. By having a single process plant with multiple redundancies, we are guaranteed to have far higher availability than a process plant with a single large or only twin processing units.
Use of small modular units to tailor build a plant to the exact throughput scale required by the project biomass feedstock basket or product output demand optimises space, foundation minimization, allows the use of standard industrial buildings, and allows very rapid plant installation through to commissioning. As the plant is modular, the additional engineering required for each project means that overhead costs and time are also minimised.
The main cost element within torrefaction is the use of feedstock and energy. It is very important that any financial modelling used to compare technologies fully compares the heat and mass balance of each technology. Use of an efficient counterflow heat exchanger within the reactor means that the energy balance of the plant can be optimised, thus reducing or removing the need for external energy when drying. The low OPEX element of our technology is very important to us as our technology, compared with many other torrefaction technologies, is far more superior and reaps greater financial returns.
Our Team is comprised of several different competencies, from senior business management professionals, through to senior engineers with a long and successful record of commercialisation of energy conversion technologies and techniques, right down to the site production engineering and management, who originate from the underground coal mining industry. These engineers have moved from fossil coal into renewable biocoal. We have brought together a goal oriented technology development and engineering production team who ensure that all activities and works are safe, cost efficient and practical in terms of production