Blackwood Technology has developed a unique process to produce torrefied biomass using the Blackwood Torrefaction System (BTS). The BTS is a proprietary multi-stage process using a series of reactors to convert fibrous biomass feedstock into torrefied biomass. The volatiles released during the torrefaction process (torgas) are burnt in a combustor, providing the required heat for the torrefaction process and the predrying of the biomass. The final stage of the BTS is the product cooling.

Blackwood’s process and technology are flexible with respect to the particle size and to the nature of the incoming biomass. Due to the multi-staged BTS, the torrefaction process can be optimally controlled, which results in safe operation and an ability to produce at the optimal process conditions. The unique and patented BTS process is developed for torrefaction, resulting in optimal efficiency of the process. Efficiency, process controllability and flexibility are all essential cost drivers: keeping feedstock and processing costs as low as possible is crucial in a commodity fuel market.

BTS comparison

Compared to other torrefaction technologies, the Blackwood Torrefaction System stands for a much faster process. This decreases material hold-up in the system, reducing the size of the installation and leading to an unequalled control of the torrefaction process. The controllability of the process enables very precise and constant process conditions, which result in the ability to produce at any desired torrefaction degree while ensuring a homogeneous product output.

Due to its small footprint and short residence times, the BTS is a very scalable system. A BTS can be easily integrated with standard drying systems, such rotary drum and belt dryers, used in wood pellet plants.

The Blackwood Torrefaction System is the only torrefaction technology in the world, which has been proven at industrial scale. The technology was first applied in the demo torrefaction plant of Topell Energy in Duiven, the Netherlands. Torrefied pellets produced in this plant were successfully co-fired in several Dutch power plants and smaller CHP systems. In 2013 a large scale co-firing test was conducted at the Amer power in Geertruidenberg, which proved that Topell’s torrefied pellets could replace fossil coal, while using the existing coal infrastructure.

For a video of the Duiven plant in operation and the co-firing at RWE Essent’s Amer power plant, please click here.