Torrefied Wood Pellet Plant Engineering Design

Vista continues to work closely with this client on the development of a torrefied wood pellet production plant at McBride, British Columbia.

Project Summary

The torrefaction of biomass is gaining in popularity as a method for producing wood pellets.

torrefied wood pelletsThis thermochemical treatment of biomass at extremely high temperatures – typically 200 to 320 °C (392 to 608ºF) – removes moisture and volatile substances from the biomass. The torrefaction process produces a higher quality and dry fuel source.

The resulting product – torrefied wood in the case of this project – has a high energy density without risk of biological decomposition (i.e. rotting).

Vista is working with the client to develop a facility that will produce torrefied wood pellets at an initial rate of 150,000 tons per year with expandability to 250,000 tons per year. To date, we have completed scoping and Pre-FEED to verify the economic opportunity of the project, and to ensure all the major costs have been accounted for in the final design.

Success Factors

To ensure a fit-for-purpose design that met all the project’s key design criteria, Vista engaged its network of experts in the wood fibre industry. As a way to control costs over the life of the project, the client was also particularly interested in Vista’s data-centric approach to project execution and expertise with digital engineering environments.

Torrefied Wood Pellet Equipment & Technology

Vista’s analysis consisted of design development for the following major wood processing elements:

  • Off-loading and storage of raw biomass feedstock
  • Pre-treatment of feedstock (chipping and screening)
  • Drying system for wood chips
  • Torrefaction and cooling systems
  • Off-gas combustion/gasifier technology
  • Pelletizing Island
  • Trans-loading facility
  • On-site power generation

Engineering Applications

The engineering capabilities demonstrated on this project also apply in other markets that need expertise in challenging material handling situations. This might include other biofuel processing plants that use feedstocks from sugar or starch crops (corn grain, sweet sorghum), fibre and grass cellulosic crops (switchgrass, miscanthus) or oil crops (soybean, canola, mustard).

Bio FuelsBiofuels

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