Development of Reliable, Economical Briquetting of Torrefied Forest Residue Without Binders to Produce Sturdy, Water Resistant Briquettes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2014-00011
Agency Tracking Number: 2014-00011
Amount: $99,888.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.1
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
500 SE BUTLER RD, Gresham, OR, 97080-9410
DUNS: 826762093
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Hiroshi Morihara
 (503) 674-3222
Business Contact
 Mary McSwain
Title: Secretary
Phone: (503) 674-3223
Research Institution
Unlike raw wood pellets, energy dense torrefied biomass pellets or briquettes share important traits with coal which make them a promising alternative clean fuel to use directly in coal plants. They are brittle (not fibrous, like raw pellets), so they can be pulverized just like coal before being fed into the coal boiler. They also have similar BTU content to coal and are water resistant, so they can be shipped and stored without cover,which meansthey don & #39;t require thevery expensive plant modificationsnecessary to burn raw wood pellets. However, economical densification of torrefied biomass without the use of a binder has proven to be the most challenging part of the torrefaction process world-wide, stagnating commercialization of this promising solid biofuel industry.The goal of this research is to successfully design a reliable, economical commercial densification system that consistently produces sturdy, water resistant briquettes without the use of binders. Low-cost forest waste residue will be used as feedstock. If successful, in the long term this technology could provide a commercial market for forest residue as feed stock for production of torrefied biomass fuel and greatly reduce costs incurred in forest and rangeland restoration efforts. When carbon neutral torrefied biomass briquettes replace coal, the negative effects of coal-fired power plant emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and other toxic metals present in the coal and coal ash will be mitigated.As feed stock for its creation of solid biomass fuel, HM3 Energy & #39;s torrefaction technology uses renewable and sustainable forest waste, which can be obtained from undesirable species (such as western Juniper) present in semi-arid regions and through forest thinning and removal of accumulated forest debris. At this time, these juniper slash piles are usually burned in place. In its NIFA SBIR Phase 2 research (OREW-2011-02347), HM3 Energy demonstrated successful densification of torrefied pine and juniper forest residue on commercially available equipment using some crude modifications. The briquettes so produced were sturdy and water resistant, but not uniformly so. This project builds upon the knowledge acquired during that research to complete our technology development so that economical, trouble-free, and continuous densification of quality briquettes can occur using the same commercial equipment with optimized modifications. Using western juniper forest waste as feedstock, we will develop, test and optimize conditioning of the biomass and briquetting die to ensure proper continuous densification. This includes proper size reduction and moisture level of the torrefied biomass feed stock as well as temperature and pressure of the die.

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

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