Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Know that jargon: bio-coal

[Does this simply mean charcoal?
Biocoal Biofuel Also are they claiming it as "CO2 neutral" because methane and other gases emitted by charcoal making, if unflared, would blow a big hole in any claim to be carbon neutral?]


Bio-Coal Maker 4Energy Sees Tenfold Surge In Sales

Date: 07-Apr-10
Country: BELGIUM
Author: Ben Deighton

Bio-Coal Maker 4Energy Sees Tenfold Surge In Sales

Belgian bio-coal maker 4Energy Invest expects earnings to rise 10 percent in the second half of 2010, and sees sales up tenfold within four years on a surge in demand for the CO2-neutral fuel.

The firm, which makes electricity and bio-coal by burning waste wood, is planning a major international expansion and has opened an office in Brazil, is building a site in Ham, in Belgium, and is looking at sites in Germany and the UK.

"Turnover we should reach it multiplied by ten (within three to four years)," Chief Executive Yves Crits told Reuters on Friday during an interview at its main power plant in Amel, on the border between Germany and Belgium.

4Energy floated in 2008 at just over 6 euros and peaked later that year at just over 7 euros before falling in the recession. While trading around 5 euros for most of this year, it should post further gains on the expansion plan.

"What we have done is to anticipate the roll out of the technology by already introducing the permit file in Ham, the permit file in Germany, by already creating the office in Brazil, by having negotiation with groups in other parts of the world," he said.

The company began life in 2005 producing energy for the wood industry in the forests around Amel, but its role as a bio-coal pioneer resulted in it being approached to set up plants in countries as far afield as Brazil and New Zealand.

"We were contacted by (people in) New Zealand, they contact us. As the first mover we have enjoyed high visibility and we want to keep this first mover advantage," said Crits.


Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) tumbled to 2.8 million euros ($3.78 million) in 2009 compared with 4.3 million in the previous year, hit by falling energy prices.

However, Crits predicted that EBITDA would rise by about 10 percent in the second half of 2010 as prices recovered.

The Amel plant combines an electricity generator powered by waste wood, and a unit which super heats the wood to create bio-coal, which the company then sells to be burned by power stations.

However, many of the new sites could focus on making bio-coal, with a waste wood generator used mainly to give the plant electricity.

"You cut the tree to make the bio-coal, you replant it, and basically you don't increase the volume of CO2, that's the reason why the bio-coal is CO2 neutral," said Crits.

(Editing by Simon Jessop)

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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