Torrefied pellets such as these are converted into stable wood biofuel from unprocessed wood pellets under a controlled heating process.
Torrefied pellets such as these are converted into stable wood biofuel from unprocessed wood pellets under a controlled heating process.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Oil giant ConocoPhillips and Enviva, a processor of wood and other biomass fuels, formed a joint venture to operate a new company, ECo Biomass Technologies, which will bring torrefied wood fuels to market.

The torrefaction process involves superheating wood in a controlled process, to create a uniform, water-repellant, dense fuel akin to coal. But sourced from wood it is considered to have a superior environmental profile compared with fossil fuels.

Torrefied fuel is said to burn cleanly, and be mixed and stoired with coal for power generation, diluting negative envinronmental imacts of the coal.

This allows utilities seeking to extend the life of existing coal burning facilities and infrastructure without significant capital investment, says Enviva.

ECo Biomass, jointly owned by Enviva and ConocoPhillips, will use a combination of proprietary and licensed technologies to manufacture and sell renewable, torrefied wood pellets. The company's initial facility, scheduled to be operational in 2013, will produce wood pellets that will be sold under agreements with major utilities.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.