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Airex Energy inaugurate Bécancour biomass torrefaction plant

Airex Energy have officially inaugurated its its biomass torrefaction plant in Bécancour (QC), Canada. Operational since December 2015 the company has completed a gradual commissioning of the plant’s equipment and is operating it at design capacity.

The industrial size demonstration plant, showcases Airex Energy's proprietary biomass torrefaction technology, called "CarbonFX".

The industrial size demonstration plant, showcases Airex Energy’s proprietary biomass torrefaction technology, called “CarbonFX”.

Canada-based torrefaction technology developers Airex Energy, a spin-off from Airex Industries that specialises in the manufacture of industrial air-treatment systems, has officially inaugurated its biomass torrefaction plant, located in the La Prade industrial park in Bécancour, Quebec.

The industrial size demonstration plant, which required around CA$10 million in public and private investments for its design, construction, and start-up, showcases its proprietary biomass torrefaction technology, called “CarbonFX”.

Since December 2015, Airex Energy has conducted a gradual commissioning of the plant’s equipment and performed several tests to optimise the process.

Biocoal pellets and biochar

Airex Energy’s torrefaction process transforms biomass residues into biocoal pellets that can replace coal and oil. Thus the biocoal can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industries that still use coal or coal by-products.

Biocoal’s unique properties allows it to easily disintegrate, so it can be ground up and combined with bituminous coal in thermal power stations producing electricity, without major changes to existing systems for handling, storing, and grinding coal.

The company started commercial biocoal and biochar production, with the goal of producing 15 000 tonnes annually from residual biomass such as forest residues, sawdust, bark, and recycled wood for current and future clients in Canada and the US.

The proprietary CarbonFX system also produces biochar, a product with a high carbon content used for soil remediation, liquid filtration and metal reduction. Biochar, when mixed with compost or peat moss, promotes plant growth. Biochar also helps reduce metals and enables rehabilitation of former mining sites.

Rollout CarbonFX technology

Airex Energy’s business model is to export its CarbonFX systems worldwide. The entire forest industry, including sawmills, pulp and paper, and wood pellet producers, is Airex’s primary market for the system.

– We believe our technology will provide new ways for forestry companies to increase profitability while diversifying their sources of revenue. With this in mind, we have started marketing our CarbonFX systems in Canada and the United States, in order to roll out this technology in all markets generating substantial amounts of residual biomass, said Sylvain Bertrand, CEO of Airex Energy in a statement.

The processing of wood residues into value-added products can allow companies in the sector to increase profitability while diversifying sources of income. And because of its simple design and small footprint, the CarbonFX technology is, according to Bertrand, cost-competitive.

– As agreed at the Paris climate conference, countries around the world are committed to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are confident that our unique torrefaction process can replace coal used in thermal power plants to produce electricity, without requiring changes or major investments to existing systems and equipment, ended Bertrand.

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