Blackwood is a renewable energy technology company focusing on biomass torrefaction and carbonization. Our FlashTor® technology offers a cost effective way to enable large scale fossil coal replacement by renewable biomass. The FlashTor® torrefaction technology was proven at industrial scale in the world’s first commercial scale torrefaction plant in the Netherlands between 2010-2014.
Torrefied biomass (aka black pellets or biocarbon) can be used as a fossil fuel replacement in power and heat generation, steel production and other metallurgical processes. In the future it can also be the preferred feedstock for large bio-refineries using entrained flow gasification to produce SAF or other bio-fuels.
Blackwood is seeking international partnerships to roll-out its leading torrefaction technology. We have partnered with TTCL Public Company Ltd to develop torrefied pellet plants in Southeast Asia using wood residues and agricultural waste. TTCL is a Thai EPC and investment company listed on the Thailand stock exchange. Since September 2020, TTCL is the majority shareholder of Blackwood. Blackwood has also signed a licensing agreement with South African utility Eskom for roll-out of torrefaction plants in the SADC region in Southern Africa.
Together with TTCL we built a first FlashTor® torrefaction demonstration plant in Thailand. The plant was built in 2022 and is now producing test volumes of black pellets for power stations, steel plants and other industrial users of fossil coal. In order to fulfill the current demand for larger commercial volumes of black pellets, TTCL is currently building a commercial FlashTor® plant in Thailand. This plant will start production in 2024.
The torrefaction process improves the fuel characteristics of biomass. Torrefaction increases the calorific value, improves the grindability and reduces the biological activity of the biomass. These benefits make it possible for coal users to use biomass as a drop-in replacement for fossil coal. In order to prove the benefits of torrefied pellets, Blackwood and its predecessor Topell Energy have conducted multiple co-firing tests with power station operators in Europe and South Africa. For example the Amer 8 & 9 power stations of RWE Generation in the Netherlands and the Hanasaari & Salmisaari power stations of Helen Oy in Finland have successfully co-fired our Blackwood pellets®.
In addition to the power station tests, we have extensively tested the burning and milling behavior of torrefied pellets in the RT&D centre of Eskom in Johannesburg as well as with coal milling equipment suppliers. The conclusion of these test programs was indeed that black pellets can replace fossil coal in pulverized coal power stations using the existing coal infrastructure.
Besides the replacement of thermal coal, torrefied biomass with a higher carbonization degree can also be used as a replacement of coking coal as a reducing agent in steel production and other metallurgical processes.
The development of Blackwood’s proprietary FlashTor® torrefaction technology was started by our predecessor Topell Energy in 2008. Since then our team has continued improving and optimizing the technology. The key benefits of the FlashTor® technology are its scalability and its optimal process control. As a result the technology is the ideal choice for industrial scale biomass torrefaction.