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Baltania plans to invest in an industrial scale torrefaction biocoal plant in Estonia

Baltania OÜ, a fully owned Estonian subsidiary of Dutch private equity investment firm Momentum Capital, has made a conditional investment decision to commission an industrial scale torrefaction biocoal plant in Vägari, Estonia. Value of the investment is approximately EUR 45 million. Providing, that all conditions of the investment decision are met the construction of the biocoal plant will start in Q2 2018.

Baltania plans to invest in a plant to produce torrefied pellets for the energy utility markets (photo courtesy Baltania).

According to a statement, forest industry and engineering consultants Pöyry has been assigned to carry out a torrefaction project feasibility study on behalf of Baltania OÜ. Baltania’s production will focus on torrefied biocoal pellets produced from sustainable woody biomass.

The energy density and grind-ability of bio-coal pellets are similar to thermal steam coal and significantly higher than that of white wood pellets or woodchips. The main customer base will consist of utility companies in Nordic countries and Central Europe.

The investment of approximately EUR 45 million will be funded by Momentum Capital together with other investors and financial institutions. The European Union (EU) has approved NER300 grant of EUR 25 million for the torrefaction project. The torrefaction project will be carried out in co-operation with the Estonian Ministry of the Environment.

The approximately 160 000 tonnes of torrefied bio-coal pellets per annum capacity plant will be commissioned on Clean Electricity Generation (CEG) torrefaction technology. CEG is a joint venture company with Momentum Capital (holding 83.33 % of the shares) and Transformative Energy and Materials Capital (TEM Capital) located in Boston, USA (holding 16.67% of the shares).

According to Baltania, the biocoal pellets produced by CEG’s technology can be stored and handled using existing fossil coal infrastructure. They are “strongly hydrophobic” in nature and hydrophobicity can be further improved using CEG’s “premium waterproof pellet” specification. This also means that logistic costs per tonne transported are significantly lower.

Assuming the conditions of the investment decision are met, the plant is expected to have a significantly positive impact on direct and indirect employment in surroundings of Vägari.

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