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Endowment/State Foresters Launch “Issues in the Forest” Series, starting with Torrefaction

May 28, 2011

Excerpt from the U.S. Endowment site, latest news

Issues in the Forest is aimed at informing dialogue on topics relevant to sustainable forestry today.  “We hope the extensive research compressed into a one-page format will help keep our partners and other interested parties up-to-speed on fast moving and critical forestry topics,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.

The first publication,  includes Renewable Fuel Technologies in the list of known U.S. Companies pursuing Torrefaction.

Torrefaction: A Woody Biomass Companion to Coal – April 2011″

TORREFACTION, the old coffee bean roasting process, is being touted by some as verging on making woody biomass the perfect renewable match with coal. Torrefied wood is superior to chips and pellets for use in electrical generation because it looks and acts much like coal including a similar Btu value (10,000/lb vs. an average 11,500/lb for coal), is easily pulverized and water resistance.

Torrefaction removes moisture from raw biomass by charring the wood in the absence of oxygen at temperatures ranging from 390 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. The lignin and cellulose become brittle, much like coal, while the remaining volatile organic compounds, like pinene and turpene, generate process heat thus less smoke associated with burning.

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