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Vow and Betula Energy partner to develop biocarbon production in Norway

Norway-headed technology developer Vow ASA has recently announced that it has entered into an agreement whereby Vow will supply technology and equipment to produce biocarbon to a new plant that Betula Energy AS (formerly known as BioGren AS) plans to build in Bamble, a municipality in South-East Norway. At this location, Betula Energy will establish bioenergy and biocarbon production from forest biomass in the form of pellets, biocarbon, and bio-oils, subject to securing finance for the project

Hot coke being discharged from the coking plant where coal is converted into metallurgical coke before transport to the quench tower for cooling. The coke gas and coke are used in the blast-furnace as fuel and the reducing agent in a steel mill.

According to a statement, the demand for biocarbon in the Nordic region is expected to increase significantly in the next few years. Large, international industrial groups are undergoing a significant green transformation to achieve their goals of significant reductions in the use of fossil coal by 2030.

Biocarbon has qualities that enable it to replace fossil coal as a reducing agent in the metallurgical industry.

Technology and solutions from Vow will play a key role in this change. We are in the process of showing not only the Norwegian but also the international industry, that we have technological solutions that accelerate the green energy transition, said Henrik Badin, CEO of Vow.

Second biocarbon plant in Norway

The plant in Bamble will be the second biocarbon facility in Norway in which Vow’s technology is to be used. At Follum near Hønefoss, Vow’s recently formed wholly-owned subsidiary, Vow Industries, announced plans in December 2020 to build a similar plant.

Here, wood waste from the forest industry and recycled wood from the construction industry will be converted into CO2-neutral energy in the form of biocarbon for the metallurgical industry, gas for district heating, and bio-oils for the petrochemical industry, said Henrik Badin.

Vow will supply the process equipment for the biocarbon production, and firm orders will be placed by Betula Energy once financing has been secured, estimated to be concluded during 2021.

For Vow, this order could result in the delivery of process equipment worth up to NOK 200 million (≈ EUR 19.6 million).

Integrated production

Betula Energy will produce homogeneous-sized wood particles as raw material and feedstock for one biocarbon production line for the metallurgical industry, and one wood pellet production line.

With such configuration, synergies can be achieved by using the syngas from biocarbon production to dry wood particles for both production lines. Betula Energy will handle feedstock reception, processing, drying, and pelleting for both production lines. This provides economies of scale.

At Betula Energy’s facility, detailed control of production is planned through all stages to ensure the desired and consistent quality of the products. The choice of Vow’s technology is consistent with this principle and will ensure the quality of the biocarbon produced, said Gisle Hegstad, General Manager of Betula Energy.

Nordic market

In Norway, the metallurgical industry currently consumes close to one million tonnes of fossil-based reducing agents annually. This corresponds to around seven percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In the Nordic countries, this consumption is four-five times greater.

Assuming the project goes as planned, the first phase of Betula Energy will enable the annual production of 15 000 tonnes of green and climate-neutral biocarbon, and corresponding volumes of bio-oils.

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