Developing a Mobile Torrefaction Machine

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-09ER86415
Agency Tracking Number: 90555
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: 18 d
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-08ER08-34
Small Business Information
116 Wildewood Club Court, Columbia, SC, 29223
DUNS: 619322782
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Dennis Hazel
 (919) 515-5573
Business Contact
 Joseph James
Title: Mr
Phone: (803) 462-0153
Research Institution
 North Carolina State University
 Dennis Hazel
 NC Cooperative Extension Service
Raleigh, NC, 27695 8008
 (919) 515-5638
 Nonprofit college or university
There are often major economic and logistical challenges in getting woody biomass out of the forest or off the farm in a manner, which justifies the costs of harvesting and transportation. Raw cellulosic biomass, woody or otherwise, is moist and bulky, which limits its cost-effective transport to ultimate users and leaves a lot of available biomass useless. In addition, many forests go without mechanical treatments necessary for fire hazard reduction and forest health, because the resultant biomass is not close enough to markets to generate sufficient offsetting revenues. This project proposes to commercialize innovation developed by North Carolina State University (NCSU) into a mobile torrefaction machine, which can go to where cellulosic biomass is harvested, increase its energy density, add value to and enhance the characteristics of the biomass, so that it may be more cost-effectively be transported to and utilized by the end-user. Torrefaction is the low-temperature treatment of biomass, which changes cellulosic material from being moist, fibrous and perishable into a dry, grind-able and stable fuel. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Mobile torrefaction systems are in high commercial demand, especially, at a time when the cost of energy has the U. S. scrambling to maximize the availability of cost-effective bio-feed stocks. Electric utilities can more easily use torrefied wood as a co-fire fuel with coal. Pellet manufacturers can make stronger and moistureresistant pellets from torrefied wood. Certain cellulosic ethanol manufacturers find that torrefied biomass is a more efficient feedstock. Additional functions, such as forming briquettes or pellets out of the torrefied wood, could be incorporated into the mobile system, to further densify and add value to the final product. This project will introduce such commercial systems, to the nation¿s marketplace, in three years, or less, to meet documented customer demand. Lastly, mobile torrefaction units can be part of a revenue-generating process for removing downed trees after a hurricane, or provide an alternative to sending urban wood waste to landfills. NCSU¿s process greatly minimizes the external energy needed to run the torrefaction process, by using the volatiles and hemicellulose, driven off during torrefaction, as the primary fuel.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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