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Boreal BioEnergy acquires closed sawmill in McBride for black pellet production

In Canada, local media reports that Vancouver-based torrefaction project developers Boreal BioEnergy Corporation have acquired a former sawmill in McBride, British Columbia (BC) and are to begin construction of a 250 000 tonnes-per-annum black pellet plant early 2020.

Boreal BioEnergy will utilise a torrefaction technology called “FlashTor” developed by Dutch firm Blackwood
Technology, which will allow it to use a wide variety of forestry biomass to create homogeneous end-product
with “consistent heating value and favourable material handling” properties (photo courtesy Boreal BioEnergy).

According to a CBC report on June 14, 2019, Boreal BioEnergy has acquired a former sawmill in McBride, a small town located in the British Columbia (BC) interior about 200 km inland of Prince George. Currently reported being in the engineering phase, the plant, once completed in late 2020, will initially have the annual capacity to produce 150 000 tonnes of torrefied black pellets destined for Japan.

According to the company, with a full build-out, the annual capacity is anticipated to increase to between 225 000 – 250 000 tonnes. In addition, the McBride site will also host a biomass gasification and power plant and a specialty sawmill to enable a completely self-contained processing facility that will run solely on forestry waste including mountain pine beetle (MPB) kill wood and other unutilized species.

Exclusive Blackwood torrefaction license

The company has stated that it has plans “well underway to construct and operate” torrefied wood pellet plants in several locations across British Columbia and Alberta (AB). Furthermore that it has an “exclusive technology license” to produce torrefied (black) pellets from almost any kind of available wood fibre.

Boreal BioEnergy will utilise a torrefaction technology called “FlashTor” that was developed by Blackwood Technology BV from the Netherlands, which will allow it to use a wide variety of forestry biomass to create homogeneous end-product that has a “consistent heating value and favourable material handling” characteristics.

Unlike other torrefaction technologies, FlashTor allows for rapid conversion of ‘green’ woody biomass to the precise torrefied material specified by the end user. The technology is based on multi-stage fluidized bed reactor technology proven at industrial scale by Blackwood Technology in the Netherlands.

The major source of feedstock will be harvested from the vast tracts of forest decimated by the MPB which presently covers over 730 million mor the equivalent of 620 million tonnes of British Columbia’s merchantable timber.

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