CoalSwitch™ is a biomass-based fuel that utilises low-value forestry, and agricultural residues, and oil palm residues including empty fruit bunch, palm fronds, and oil palm trunks, as well as a variety of other biomass feedstocks. It has several advantages compared with other biomass fuels such as torrefied or white pellet alternatives, including:
- Unique characteristics in terms of calorific value and friability (the ability to be ground to very fine powder), performing well on all metrics in comparison to coal.
- Ability to increase energy density and bulk density of biomass to levels comparable to coal and as a result, the costs to transport it are highly efficient relative to any other coal alternative, and 62% more cost effective than white biomass pellets.
- Hydrophobic qualities, which remove the need for expensive climate-controlled storage facilities/silos, unlike white pellet fuels that require climate-controlled storage and shipping.
- Ability to be economically pelletised, briquetted, or baled, either alone or blended with coal without costly binders.
- Ability to improve coal-burning efficiencies when co-fired with coal, providing power plants with an easy route to sulphur and carbon dioxide emission reductions.
- Ability to be used in coal fired power stations without the need for significant retrofitting.
The Company is in the process of establishing its first industrial plant in Lumberton, North Carolina, which will serve as the new base for all AEG CoalSwitch operations in the US. It will initially operate a five tonne per hour plant originally installed in Utah, followed by ramp up to a 10 tonne per hour production capacity in the near term. Working with partners, including Andritz, the plant is planned to increase to a total production capacity of 50 tonnes per hour or 400,000 tonnes of CoalSwitch™ per annum.