ConocoPhillips, Enviva partner to create JV ECo Biomass Technologies to bring torrefied wood pellets to market; operations set to begin in 2013
November 21, 2011
– Enviva LP ("Enviva"), a leading manufacturer of processed biomass fuel in the United States and Europe, today announced that it has partnered with ConocoPhillips, a prominent international oil and gas producer, to create a new company, ECo Biomass Technologies ("ECo Biomass"), which will bring torrefied biomass fuels to market.
ECo Biomass, jointly owned by Enviva and ConocoPhillips, will use a combination of proprietary and acquired existing 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.
The torrefaction process involves superheating biomass to create a uniform, hydrophobic, dense, and highly efficient fuel akin to coal but with a superior environmental profile. Given torrefied fuel's unique properties and combustion benefits, this "drop-in" renewable solution manufactured by ECo Biomass provides an attractive alternative for utilities seeking to reduce their carbon emissions and extend the life of existing coal burning facilities and infrastructure without significant capital investment.
ConocoPhillips' established presence as a fuel supplier to the integrated power sector and Enviva's proven operational expertise in manufacturing sustainable biomass fuel uniquely position the companies to bring a new renewable fuel alternative to utilities seeking to reduce their dependence on coal.
"Although torrefaction is widely used in many industries, its adaptation to the renewable energy industry has yet to be proven cost-effective and scalable. Our partnership with ConocoPhillips is designed to bring this new, sustainable, renewable fuel to the power generation industry and enable our utility customers to reduce their environmental impact in a cost-competitive manner," said John Keppler, Enviva chairman and CEO. "Both of our companies are energy industry innovators, and this partnership underscores our commitment to developing sustainable energy solutions."
With large commercial and utility clients in the U.S., Europe and Asia actively looking to upgrade power generating facilities to use renewable fuels, ECo Biomass will seek to expand its production capabilities significantly over the coming years. Enviva already operates traditional wood pellet plants in the United States and Europe representing approximately 750,000 metric tons of combined annual capacity in 2011.
Enviva's mission is to become the preferred partner and supplier of sustainably sourced wood pellets and other processed biomass to serve power generation and industrial customers seeking to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint. Enviva has been supplying wood chips and wood pellets to customers in the United States and Europe since 2007. For more information about Enviva, including job opportunities, go to www.envivabiomass.com.