On 24th December 2019, the EPC contract has been signed between TTCL Vietnam Corporation Limited (TVC) and Ha Tien Energy Corporation (“HATIECO”) for PHU TAI FACTORY NO.5 TORREFACTION UNIT 50 KTPA PROJECT at Lot A2, Hoai Tan IC, Hoai Nhon Dist., Binh Dinh Province, to produce black pellet from white pellet of existing plant.

(Photos at the signing ceremony of EPC contract between TTCL Vietnam Co., Ltd. (TVC) and Ha Tien Energy Corporation (“HATIECO”))

In the continuous economic growth, renewable energy is increasingly focused as a substitute for the traditional fuels such as coal and gas, to provide the cleaner fuels for industrial and civil demands. Therein, woody biomass with the large amount of feedstock from agriculture and forestry, is at competitive price and produce less greenhouse emission compared to that from fossil fuels. In addition, the countries in the region like Korea and Japan had the tariff policy and energy plan to support and promote the fuels from biomass to replace coal in the near future.

The white pellet is currently popular in the market, which is dried and palletized from wood chips to improve significantly the energy density, storage and transport efficiency. However, the white pellets still contain a large amount of decomposable organic matters, it makes the storage time short (around 1 week indoor condition), the mechanical properties and composition not like coal, thus they were not used for the present coal fire applications. And hence the increase of this fuel demand is limited.

In order to enhance the characteristics of wood pellet, TTCL and Ha Tien Energy Corporation implemented the Torrefaction Unit project at Phu Tai factory no.5, adding a torrefaction system to transform white pellet of existing production plant into torrefied pellet (black pellet) at capacity of 50,000 ton/year, and send back hot flue gas in the process to the existing wood chip dryers for heat recovery.

The black pellets have the following characteristics, which is the most suitable for co-firing with coal & biomass:

-Energy density is near the sub-bituminous coals (17-25 MJ/kg), the popular coal in power plant.

-Cleaner burning flue gas and less ash content than coal and white pellet, contribute to environment protection.

-Hydrophobicity enable long time outdoor storage, substantial saving in storage & distribution costs than white pellet.

-More brittle and grindability is more similar to that of coal.

The biomass thermal upgrading technology, TTCL studied and applied, is direct torrefaction rotary reactor, featuring:

-Lower temperature pyrolysis at 250-300 oC in absence of oxygen for 10-30 minutes.

-Utilize the gasified biomass from torrefaction as fuel for furnace to provide heat back to the reactor.

-Even torrefaction of all materials pass through the rotary reactor, though the material size is varied during the process.

-Proven process by a commercial factory producing pellets from bagasse in USA.

-Can work with many kinds of wood by attempt the actual materials in the 15 kTPA pilot unit to optimize design.

As a country having high potential in forestry, suitable soil and climate for fast growing trees like acacia (life cycle 3-5 years), Vietnam is very potential in investing black pellet manufacturing for domestic power plants and export. Consequently it boosts the forestry development, and protects the environment and resources. TTCL Vietnam expects the project can be the typical example for the other projects to happen.