[NEWS] Juniper to Biomass Facility Proposed for Oregon
– by Eric Mortenson, October 24, 2016, Capital Press
Morihara’s company announced it has refined a process for turning logging slash or other biomass into briquettes that can be burned in coal-fired electrical plants such as the one in Boardman, Ore. His company, HM3 Energy Inc., has built a $4 million demonstration plant in Troutdale, Ore., just east of Portland. It plans to license the technology and sell it worldwide. A Japanese firm, New Energy Development Co., has invested $2 million in HM3 and said it will build a production plant at an undisclosed location in Oregon.
The fuel is produced through a method called torrefaction, in which woody debris, crop residue or other plant material is essentially roasted in the absence of oxygen. The end product is a brittle, briquette-looking material that can be crushed and burned.
Morihara and others believe the briquettes can be a cleaner, “drop-in” replacement for coal, which is considered a dirty energy source. Portland General Electric, which operates the Boardman power plant, is looking for a replacement fuel. Later this year, PGE will conduct a 24-hour test burn of torrefied biomass to see if it works.
The utility would need up to 8,000 tons of biomass fuel per day to replace the coal it now burns. Other companies are pursuing the technology; PGE is working with a coalition called Oregon Torrefaction to obtain the material it needs for the test burn.