Vega Biofuels pilot torrefaction plant to use new process

By Vega Biofuels Inc. | September 04, 2014

Vega Biofuels Inc. has announced that its joint venture partner, Agri-Tech Producers LLC, has developed a new and patent-pending process that dramatically reduces the cost of some of the biomass feedstock for the company's Allendale, South Carolina, pilot torrefaction plant.

Vega recently announced it has entered into the Joint Venture to build and operate a pilot manufacturing plant in Allendale to produce bio-coal, among other torrefied products. When completed in the first quarter of 2015, the plant will use a patented torrefaction technology to produce the company's green-energy bio-coal product from plant and wood biomass, which will then be sold to power companies around the world. A clean and renewable alternative to traditional coal, bio-coal has a high energy density of up to 13,000 Btu, and is a fuel that meets the EU's requirements and those of the renewable portfolio standards and renewable energy credits (RECs) in the United States.

As a way to dramatically reduce biomass feedstock costs, while substantially expanding the availability of nearby forest and bio-crop acreage, ATP has developed a new, patent-pending, combined Site Remediation Biomass and Bio-Coal Production (SRBBP) Process, which uses the phytoremediation powers of the roots of certain fast-growing trees and bio-crops that have been planted to clean contaminated sites; then, using a partner company's patented leaching process to remove the toxins and other problematic substances from the biomass; and finally, torrefying the biomass to make bio-coal and other bio-products.

Michael K. Molen, chairman and CEO of Vega Biofuels, stated, "Through ATP's SRBBP Process, we will be planting certain trees and bio-crops and using them twice, effectively cutting their cost in half for both the remediation and the torrefaction processes. I congratulate ATP for its creativity, as this will certainly have a positive impact on our sales and bottom line."

After developing its SRBBP Process, ATP has begun working with the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) RE-Powering America's Land Initiative which facilitates renewable energy activity on former and currently contaminated sites. Upon request, EPA provided ATP a list and map showing nearly 170 contaminated sites, totaling approximately 250,000 acres, within a 75-mile radius of the Allendale pilot plant and 66,000 contaminated sites nationwide, totaling approximately 35 million acres.

Joseph J. James, president of ATP, and Vega Advisory Board Member stated, "Our new SRBBP Process can be replicated all over the U.S. and around the world, wherever there is substantial contaminated site acreage convenient to a torrefaction plant. This should either help stimulate more use of bio-coal in the U.S., or otherwise enhance our profits."