Blackwood Technology’s FlashTor ® technology is a unique process to produce torrefied biomass. FlashTor ® 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 lean gas combustor, providing the required heat for the torrefaction process and the pre-drying of the biomass. The final stage of the FlashTor ® system is the product cooling.

Blackwood’s technology is flexible with respect to the particle size and to the nature of the incoming biomass. Due to the multi-staged FlashTor ®-concept, 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 FlashTor® process has been developed for biomass 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.

FlashTor comparison

Compared to other torrefaction technologies, Blackwood’s FlashTor ® 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 FlashTor ® Torrefaction System is a very scalable system. It can be easily integrated with standard drying systems, such as rotary drum and belt dryers, used in regular wood pellet plants.

The FlashTor ® Torrefaction System is the only torrefaction technology in the world, which has been proven at industrial scale. The technology was first applied in a demo torrefaction plant of Topell Energy in Duiven, the Netherlands. Torrefied pellets produced in this plant were successfully co-fired in several European coal-fired power plants and smaller biomass 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 of torrefied pellets at RWE’s Amer power plant, please click here.