A collaboration between three companies looks to create the world’s first sustainable biomass fuel to replace coal. Manufacturing and innovation leader Munro & Associates is working with with Biomass Energy Enhancements LLC (BEE) and UK-based and AIM-listed Active Energy Group Plc (AEG) to produce a market-ready sustainable biomass fuel that would be able to directly replace coal without retrofitting the plant.
Other processes that have been used in the past, such as simple compaction and thermal drying, either leave a high level of toxic salts in the biomass creating pollution and frequent maintenance issues or leave too much intercellular moisture reducing the effective energy release from the fuels. BEE’s process “explodes” the fibers like popcorn and exposes the intra-fiber moisture and soluble salts which can then be easily removed. This new process allows biofuels to be generated from materials that would not have been suitable or viable before, such as reclaimed waste wood, and diseased and invasive crops or trees.
A further benefit is that the final product is also hydrophobic, which not only prevents possible reabsorption of moisture that would degrade the fuel, but it subsequently reduces distribution, transportation and storage costs.
Although Munro has worked on several new technologies over the years, rarely does the company make the leap to actually invest in the technologies as well,” said Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro & Associates. “This process has the potential to revolutionize the industry and we are very proud to be a part of the Coal Switch Team.”
Munro’s engineers worked with the BEE team to create a highly scalable, mobile and “flexible in the field” process that can be moved anywhere in the world. This creates a massive savings in regards to moving the raw potential biomass to a facility, rather than move the scalable facility easily and cheaply to set up onsite.
Munro officials say its proprietary Design Profit software has allowed the company to scale up a prototype to a market-scale winning solution.