Nippon Paper Industries will begin tests next spring on a process it plans to use to mass-produce efficient-burning wood pellets as a biomass fuel for electricity generation starting in fiscal 2018.
The so-called torrefied wood gets its name from torrefaction, a process similar to coffee roasting. Wood is heated at relatively low temperatures for less than an hour to yield a substance that burns with double the heat volume of wood chips, effectively doubling the power generation efficiency.
Despite global research on torrefied wood as a biomass fuel, few companies have taken the next step to develop a means of mass production. Nippon Paper intends to leverage its papermaking experience to quickly establish this as a source of earnings for its energy business.