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Torrefaction for Biomass Energy Applications

By: Chris Hopkins, Dennis Hazel NC Woody Biomass

Biomass has an advantage over renewable energies (such as solar, wind and hydro) in that it can produce both electrical power and liquid transportation fuels. Biomass is also carbon-neutral because in a broad sense, the CO2 released in combustion of current vegetation is captured by the next generation of vegetation through photosynthesis. However, biomass feedstocks (both forestry and agricultural) have low energy density and they are bulky, moist and perishable so that they are relatively expensive to transport and store. Torrefaction solves these problems by making a feedstock that is dry, does not rot and holds much more energy per unit of volume and mass.