Friday, 16 July 2010

The "Crystal Ball" View of Torrefaction

The days of whitewood pellets, as a Commercial / Industrial product are rapidly coming to an end.

Once Torrefaction Technology has been Commercialised and rolled-out, there are NO Power Stations that will want to purchase non-torrefied product. The reasons for this are very simple;

1) Torrefied Pellets Store better than Whitewood
2) Torrefied Pellets Burn better than Whitewood
3)Torrefied Pellets Ship more econmically than whitewood
4) Torrefied Pellets Grind better than Whitewood
5) Torrefied pellets emit much Lower Emissions than Whitewood
6) Torrefied Pellets cost the same (per unit of energy) as whitewood.

Many Utilities are deferring their plans to modify Power Stations to accommodate Whitewood Pellets, in anticipateion of the arrival of Torrefied Pellets.

On the Residential, Commercial and Light Industrial front, one of the major drivers is air quality. As Torrefied Pellets already have many voloatiles (smoke producing) removed, their emissions are lower, and the consequence is much better air quality. Local Councils, Regional Districts and other Authorities are offered this "air-friendly" solution, it will be widly implemented as a planning consent condition.

This, of course, raises several issues:

1) What do the existing, small (4,000 to 6,000 tonne per year) Whitewood Pellet manufacturers do? It isn't sensible to retrofit Torrefaction at that scale, and there would need to be a cooperative or Group formed to meet the minimum economic volumes.
2) What will happen to the price of Whitewood Pellets? As a less desirable product, the price of Whitewood Pellets (as a consequence of supply and demand) will rapidly drop. This will result in an implosion of that industry for those who do not embrace and adopt the new technology. Neither of my children (age 11 and 13) have ANY Idea what a "record" is. The universal adoption of CD's virtuall overnight, created the extinction of vinyl.
3) Regulators, when now faced with a cleaner, greener option (that overcomes the technical limitations of Whitewood Pellets) can now insist on higher co-firing and utilisation levels. In addition, at Utility Scale, many of the existing or planned whitewood power Stations (wood chips, PKS, etc.) will no longer be either economically sensible or Legislatively approvable. This will be as a consequence of their feedstocks being converted, at source, into Torrefied Pellets, to facilitate the significant savings in Transport worldwide.

The WHOLE world changes, 30 seconds after the FIRST Torrefied wood comes out of the FIRST Commercial Torrefaction Reactor.

And we'll be there to see History in the making.

1 comment:

  1. Would love to hear what do you think about the situation now that their are some plants doing torrefication on a commercial scale