Thursday, 30 January 2014

A classic case of "LESS . . . is MORE"

We've all heard the old adage.

I apply it to my living conditions (I tend towards a rather Zen belief that is minimalist in terms of furnishings and accessories) poets apply it to prose, and wise men apply it to what they say. I've always subscribed to the belief that quality, is far more valuable than quantity.

There is however, one instance, where the literal sense of the phrase is apropos. And that instance is when it comes to Flue Emissions.

Almost anyone who has been alive longer than 30 years can remember the black coatings on most buildings in industrialized Cities throughout the UK. They can also remember the thick smog that was a consequence of the almost universal use of Coal as an energy source. While it certainly fed the Industrial machine, it did bring a lot of consequences that were less than desirable.

So - Something had to be done. And what was done, was to outlaw the use of smokey fuels (Like low ranking coal) and mandate the installation of treatment systems for any large Utility combusting the stuff. Now while this created a temporary boom for the flue gas treatment companies, the cost of meeting ever increasing (or is that decreasing?) strictness on emissions, has become a major contributor to the demise of many power stations. It simply was no longer economical to operate.

With the advent, and strong support by the government, of Biomass heating Systems, the hue and cry is emanating from the wilderness. People are starting to voice their opposition to the combustion of solid fuels,as they say it disrupts their peaceful and quiet enjoyment of life. Now, in this day and age, combustion technology has improved greatly, and new systems are very "clean" (relatively speaking) but there is still more work to be done.

The recent changes to the RHI, and the addition of a stringent set of Air Quality regulations, is a case in point. In order to meet its Carbon Reduction Objectives, the UK Government has targeted Biomass Heating as a primary goal. The increase in numbers of systems to the thousands, from the current tens of hundreds, is inevitable. Alongside that comes the inevitable.

The search is on for a solution.

What we do, is provide a partial solution. We refine wood fuel, into a Bio-Coal product, that has had most of the Smoke Causing volatiles removed from it. Early tests reveal a substantial reduction in NOx and PM emissions. What is substantial? How about 50% less, in some aspects?

Now - this is by no means the be all and end all, it is merely another rung on the ladder. However - we believe that this "smokeless" fuel is a much better option than the untreated alternative.

In what is becoming a highly competitive market, we believe that Manufacturers who can offer a "Low Emission" version of their boilers, will have a distinct competitive advantage. Tuning the systems to this new fuel, and partnering with a fuel supply Company that can provide long-term, low cost supplies is seen as a very convincing offer.

So - the times are changing. In the not-too-distant future, Smokeless wood fuels will be a reality, and the Market will now have a choice.

Which would you prefer? My guess is, that to you - Less, IS more.

Back to the grindstone . . . so much to do . . . so little time to do it.


P.S. - We're still looking to fill a few gaps in our Research program on small to medium boilers, so if you have one, and would like to take part in this research, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. What you are promoting is biochar; not torrefied wood. From what i know about the Utility companies, they probably are not going to pay the additional charge associated with biochar. You may be able to build a Business Plan using government incentives but I question the scalability to millions of ton using steel reactors or something based on your current technology. One ton per day, or even one ton per hour scaling will require a MASSIVE building and reactor system.