Biomass pre-treatment for bioenergy – Case study 4: The steam explosion process technology
This case study is concerned with the upgrade of low-grade biomass feedstocks through steam explosion followed by densification to produce a fuel pellet. The steam exploded product:
- Can be stored outdoors for a longer duration with no significant impact on mechanical durability
- Requires measures for dust prevention
- Has a calorific value slightly higher than that of wood pellets but below that of torrefied pellets
The production costs of steam explosion pellets are higher than those of wood pellets. This requires specific applications for the steam explosion pellets, such as peaking power plants where outdoor storage is permitted and the cost differentiation between wood pellets and steam explosion pellets can be balanced, e.g. by savings on handling equipment.