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French firm uses tech to boost biocoal production

Areva acquires Thermya’s torrefaction process to produce biocoal

The tech produces biocoal through a torrefaction process
The tech produces biocoal through a torrefaction process

A French energy company has acquired technology to develop biocoal production. Paris firm Areva will use the technology to produce a replacement for fossil coal for bioenergy power generation.

The technology is based on French firm Thermya’s torrefaction process. The process, which is currently being deployed commercially, produces plant fuel from biomass that can be used as an alternative to fossil coal for production of thermal energy and electricity.

Areva said: “The torrefaction (or depolymerisation) of biomass is a thermo-chemical process aiming to eliminate water and alter part of the organic matter of biomass to break down its fibres. Torrefied biomass (or biocoal) offers a number of benefits, including high energy density, hydrophobia, and increased grindability.”

The company claims this operation is in line with the group’s strategy to broaden its offer in the field of renewable energy by placing a stronger emphasis on technology.

Luc Oursel, president and CEO of AREVA, said: “This acquisition strengthens our position in the field of renewable energies, and establishes AREVA on the global bio-coal market, which has considerable potential. Thanks to the acquisition of this unique torrefaction technology, and on the strength of its subsidiary AREVA Bioenergy 35 years of experience, the group is particularly well-placed to capture a significant share of the bio-coal market.”