Technology converts biomass feedstock into coal-like product.
EnviraCarbon Inc. (ECI), an energy technology provider with locations in Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina, has announced the commercialization of a patented technology that molecularly alters renewable biomass feedstock into EnvirAnized Biofuel™ (EBF).
EBF is a product that looks, transports, stores, pulverizes and burns like coal that does not pollute like coal, according to ECI. The process changes woody biomass into clean carbonized EBF, condensing a process that occurs in nature over the course of 100 million years into a matter of minutes, the company says.
Because EBF allows biomass to take on the physical characteristics of coal it can be directly used by coal-burning or biomass fired power plants and industrial facilities without any modification or retrofitting to their existing boiler systems, says ECI. The EBF product has the same heat value as bituminous coal from the Eastern U.S. (12,000-plus Btus), it exhibits a much greater heat value than wood pellets and unlike wood pellets, it is hydrophobic, states the company.
The EBF product contains negligible amounts of sulfur and non-detectable levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead and, by most standards, is at or near carbon neutral, according to ECI.
ECI facilities use only certified sustainable biomass and/or waste wood as feedstock and require a relatively small footprint while producing large quantities of EBF, says the company. With a commercial facility presently under construction, export of EBF is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014. Some additional characteristics for EBF include the following properties that mimic coal:
- looks like coal: totally black pellet with no woody material;
- burns like coal: heat range 11,000 to 13,000 BTUs, 25.6 to 30.2 gigajoules per ton;
- handles like coal: pellet durability 93-plus percent;
- crushes like coal: Hardgrove grindability index 55-plus;
- pulverized like coal: highly friable; and
- hydrophobic like coal: above 100 degrees hydrophobicity.
According to ECI, EBF differentiates itself from coal in the following ways:
- very little ash and no toxic ash to store;
- low slagging index: 0.5546;
- 100 percent renewable: produced from certified renewable biomass;
- carbon neutral;
- no mercury or heavy metals: no mineral based pollutants;
- virtually no sulfur: sulfur ranges from non-detect to greater than 0.2 percent; and
- almost pollution-free: exceptionally clean burning.
EnviraCarbon describes itself as a diverse group of companies focused on the development of clean energy technologies for the manufacturing of innovative biofuel products used for combustion by utilities to create renewable electricity and a wide range of activated carbon products including enviraPAC Hg – a group of biomass-derived powdered activated carbons used to capture mercury from coal flue gas.