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Active Energy JV to commercialise biomass fuel processing

Chipped wood. Author: Douglas O'Brien. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

September 14 (SeeNews) - UK-based Active Energy Group Plc (LON:AEG) on Monday said it has set up a joint venture with US company Biomass Energy Enhancements LLC (BEE) to commercialise a biomass fuel manufacturing process.

AEG, which is active across the timber industry supply chain, will hold 51% in the new company, called AEG CoalSwitch Ltd.

"AEG CoalSwitch is aiming to have a market-ready product - a system capable of producing high volumes of clean energy 'coal switch' Biomass fuel - by mid-2016," said AEG chief executive Richard Spinks.  

In return for the majority stake, AEG will assist in the commercialisation of the joint venture and will contribute to its working capital funding before the raising of capital. AEG CoalSwitch has already started talks with "leading investment funds" to raise the capital needed to roll out its business model, under which it plans to build de-mountable fuel manufacturing facilities close to biomass raw material sources.

Utah-based BEE has been developing the biomass fuel processing system for the past seven years. The process, which AEG thinks has "the potential to be a game-changer for the global power generation industry," allows biomass fuel to be used in traditional coal-fired power plants as a direct replacement for coal as well as being mixed with coal in co-firing operations without retrofitting, according to the announcement. The technology cleanses the raw biomass material, with the finished fuel having similar thermal and friability characteristics to coal. It can also be used on previously unusable waste timber, contaminated or redundant industrial residues and chemically-treated wood such as railway sleepers, says the statement.  

The system has been optimised for industrial-scale production by Michigan-based engineering and manufacturing consultancy Munro and Associates Inc.

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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