Torrefaction Facility to Open in John Day
Transforming Wood Waste into Fuel
In the Grant County community of John Day, Restoration Fuels and Malheur Lumber are using fire to fight fire — and to make better fire.
The process of Torrefaction roasts wood in very high temperatures, up to 400-750 degrees Fahrenheit. “In the end, we are creating a material that is like coal,” said Restoration Fuels CEO Matt Krumenauer. “The process is comparable to roasting coffee beans and involves heating the woody biomass in the absence of oxygen. The end product looks, feels and acts like coal, but comes from recently-grown wood. Which is far easier than using fossilized coal which is wood and carbon that is millions of years old.”
The Torrefaction plant will use locally sourced waste wood that is water resistant and low in moisture. The resulting product has a similar energy profile as coal but with a smaller environmental footprint. Utilities can use torrefied biomass to generate electricity.
“In developing a new, renewable fuel production facility,” adds Matt, “we will provide a new market for biomass. And that supports forest restoration while integrating with existing business and infrastructure. Also, we are creating economic opportunities for the communities we work with.”
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