The Netherlands-headed Perpetual Next, a leader in torrefaction technology and producer of biocarbon, has announced that it has acquired Belgian torrefaction technology specialist TorrCoal effective September 15, 2021.
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According to a statement, the integration of TorrCoal within Perpetual Next will expand the technology solutions that the global chemical, steel, and cement industries need to reduce their dependence on fossil carbon for their production.
Thanks to this investment, the value of which will not be disclosed, Perpetual Next will be able to offer both ready-to-use biocarbon and various torrefaction technologies to multiple industries.
Furthermore, the biocarbon will only be used for biochemical and production processes and “absolutely not for coal-fired power plants.”
The industry and the world need this. That is why we are happy to join forces with TorrCoal. Because in order to truly prevent further climate change, we will not only have to emit less carbon dioxide (CO2), but we will also have to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. We call this ‘reversed mining’, explained Martijn van Rheenen, CEO of Perpetual Next.
Broaden biocarbon technology portfolio
For Perpetual Next, the acquisition and integration of TorrCoal is an important part of an investment program to develop, acquire and integrate various torrefaction technologies.
The investment program will exceed EUR 200 million by 2021 alone, and the company has engaged investment bank Jefferies to help meet the financing needs and realize the global growth opportunities.
Torrefaction involves converting waste streams into biocarbon and biocoal through a thermal refining process. The torrefaction process itself is a clean process; the production of biocarbon takes place in a closed environment to which no extra energy needs to be added.
This creates an affordable and renewable raw material with a high energy density and carbon content, which has many applications and can replace fossil carbon.
TorrCoal’s technology will broaden Perpetual Next’s offering to its customers in terms of feedstock for the production of sustainable biocarbon, including low-grade waste streams such as scrap wood and plastic-containing waste.
Jointly, they now bring together decades of experience from highly specialized teams. Although they have focused on torrefaction, both companies have developed a different processes to master the technology.
Instead of taking fossil coal out of the ground and adding CO2 to the atmosphere through combustion, we can use our technologies to capture CO2 and store it in products and our soil, thus keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere. That is why we focus exclusively on companies that need carbon atoms for their production process, Martijn van Rheenen said.
High-grade applications for low-grade waste streams
TorrCoal has focused on using scrap wood and recyclable plastic waste from waste separation stations and environmental parks.
TorrCoal can convert this into high-quality carbon and supply this in powder form to, among others, the biochemical and steel industries reducing fossil coal consumption.
Perpetual Next is able to upgrade waste streams from wood production into high-grade biocarbon. Moreover, it has succeeded in producing on an industrial scale. The company has two fully-fledged production facilities in Europe and, with the integration of TorrCoal, a third will be added.
Both Perpetual Next and TorrCoal currently supply the world’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal with high-grade biocarbon for their steel production process.
The aim is to give these, and other customers access to more low-grade waste streams for high-grade biocarbon.
One thing is certain: the carbon we produce is of such a high quality that it should only be used in biochemical processes and production processes in which carbon atoms are indispensable. The applications are limitless and as part of Perpetual Next, we have even greater leverage to meet them. Let’s be clear, we don’t want to use it to burn it for low-value applications such as electricity generation, said Rob Melk, CEO of TorrCoal.
Scientific research on alternative feedstocks
In addition to these technologies, Perpetual Next is investing heavily in research into the use of alternative raw materials such as bagasse and other grasses.
To this end, the company is working with Wageningen University & Research on a research program into more than 20 types of raw materials and is actively acquiring technologies around the world.
The battle for high-quality biocarbon has begun. This battle is not only about economics: which industries can afford the limited amount of renewable carbon available? But also about ethics: which industries should have the right to use this scarce biocarbon? Our technologies will help industries win that battle by enabling them to use low-value waste streams for their high-value sustainable products, said Martijn van Rheenen.
Perpetual Next has noticed a strong increase in demand from various industries for on-site torrefaction lines that produce biocarbon from low-grade waste sources.
The integration of TorrCoal provides Perpetual Next with the additional experience and technology to build on our leadership position. There is a combined experience of many decades and great synergies between the teams of specialists, said Martijn Dekker, CTO of Perpetual Next.
For the time being, both companies will continue to operate in the market under their own names. After the completion of the integration, TorrCoal will formally be part of the Perpetual Next company.
The requests we receive from the steel, cement, and chemical industries could, to a certain extent, be covered by our own technology. The complementary TorrCoal technology enables us to offer an even wider range of solutions in the search for sustainable carbon, ended Martijn Dekker.