Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Rose, by any other Name . . . . . .

It was William Shakespeare who wrote the immortal words: "What's in a name? that which we call a rose - By any other name would smell as sweet"

The point to his prose is, that it matters little what something is called - but rather what it is.

Torrefied Wood certainly fall into this category.

Even though it is effectively a brand new product, it already has several International "Brands" that people are placing on it - presumably in an attempt to create a unique identity for their own particular version. Lets see . . . . . I have heard it called the following:

1) Bio-Coal
2) BIO2
3) Eco-Coal
4) E-Coal
5) E-Char
6) Dura Burn
and my all-time favourite . . . .
8) ACTOF (Ablazing Clean Torrefied Organic Fuel)

Undoubtedly, I have missed a few here, but the point remains - there are may organisations that want to become synonymous with torrefied wood, and stake their claim as the "Brand". Knowing precious little about branding, marketing or other hype - I have the feeling that this product is unlikely to EVER become a household word like IBM, Rolex, Nike, Rolls-Royce or any other Iconic Brand name.

The reality is, that no matter how you encapsulate your product; how you "spin" your environmental credentials; or how you "identify" with your market - UNLESS the torrefied wood has "The Right Stuff" - it isn't going to sell.

I'm not sure that I understand the reasoning behind all of the effort, energy and money being spent on this exercise. After all, isn't torrefied wood about PERFORMANCE - not Perception? I guess the promoters assume that Utilities are really dumb and gullible.

Many Years ago, I was fascinated by a man named Ron Popeil. It seemed that a day didn't go by, that he hadn't come up with something "new and Improved" to sell us. He had a Company, appropriately named "RONCO" (Creative - isn't it?) Under a slick and mesmerising marketing campaign, he was able to tempt millions of people to part with their hard-earned cash for useful items such as the "Veg-O-Matic; Pocket Fisherman; Dial-O-Matic; Inside-The-Egg Scrambler; and - WHO can forget - the GLH (Great Looking Hair) Formula # 9 (this was essentially spray paint for your bald spot!)

I guess Abraham Lincoln was right. He said - "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time"

But the greatest Showman of all time (and it was promoted as "The GREATEST Show on EARTH!) was P. T. Barnum. Fame and fortune were his, and he seemed to have a never-ending parade of the weird and wonderful. (all for the cost of a cup of coffee). HE got it right. Barnum is credited with saying - "There's a sucker born EVERY Minute." (he didn't actually say it - he was just credited with it.)

Needless to say - this torrefaction world is FULL of P. T. Barnum's, and I personally find it quite humorous to follow their antics. However - reality is ALWAYS reality, no matter how much someone would try to convince you otherwise.

I rather subscribe to the philosophy of a certain David Kirkaldy who was a pioneer in the materials testing world. His motto? "FACTS, not OPINIONS". Herein lies the true secret behind torrefied wood. The process is one that is complete; nothing extra to buy, no options. It is based on sound scientific principle, and the underlying facts - not on the trumped-up, fanciful opinions of those that would have you believe it were otherwise.

There are 3 simple rules:

1) Math is ALWAYS MATH
2) Physics is ALWAYS PHYSICS.


3) NO ONE can change rules #1 or #2.

Every day, I get emails asking me whether this particular technology is legitimate, or this product is real, etc. I find it hard to believe that otherwise intelligent, educated and intellectual people are so perplexed by this technology.

Answers to the above questions, and much, MUCH more is available in my upcoming publication "A complete and Comprehensive overview of Torrefaction Technologies". Details at

Perhaps some day; one day, it will all become very clear. When it does - we will be there, smack dab in the middle of it all.

Forewarned is Fore-armed.

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