Welcome to the Biomass conversion technologies database which you can access underneath! 

Through the underneath table users can access the database on lignocellulosic biomass conversion technologies characteristics (click on the number in last column). The data included in this database are feeding the Bio2Match, the BeWhere and the LocaGIStics tools all accessible via the main menu in this toolset under 'Tools'. accessible under the ‘Tool'  tab in the main menu above. In the process of creating the database it was ensured to take up the technologies relevant for producing the products described in the product market combinations in WP7 and that were the basis for assessing 2020 and 2030 biomass demand and consumption levels (see Tab 'General data' ---> 'Biomass demand'. For heat, power and fuels, several technologies are available in the database, while for other bio-based products (especially through the sugar platform) some but fewer conversion technologies are included. This is a representation of the technology readiness levels and the current and expected market situation for these products.

In the underneath table an overview is provided of all technologies included in the conversion technologies database. To access the detailed technology characterisation sheets in de database click on the technology number in the last column of the table.  To return to the overview table again click on the return arrow

The technologies covered can be classified in 6 main categories: treatment in subcritical water, syngas platform, gasification technologies, fast pyrolysis, direct combustion of solid biomass, chemical pretreatment, biochemical hydrolisis and fermentation and anearobic digestion. For a further description of the biomass conversion technologies database please consult D2.3The method developed in S2BIOM for minimal biomass quality requirement for each biomass conversion technology is described in D2.1 and  D2.2.

Conversion technologies Conversion technologies


View details of Torrefaction and pelletisation (TOP)

Name Torrefaction and pelletisation (TOP)
Main category Torrefaction
Subcategory Moving bed reactor
Image url
Year of first implementation 2011
Estimated number of systems in operation
Main operating principle:
Raw biomass feedstocks are often tenacious and fibrous, bulky, non-homogeneous, high in water content, biodegradable and generally, prone to issues in handling, transportation and processing. In order to overcome these issues, torrefaction can be applied as a biomass pre-treatment process. Torrefaction is a thermochemical process that, together with a proper densification, can produce a high-quality solid bioenergy carrier, which can serve as a renewable alternative to coal. Torrefaction in combination with densification transforms the biomass into a brittle, more coal-like product which is easier to grind, is more water resistant and has a higher energy density than the initial raw biomass. Torrefaction is a thermochemical pre-treatment process typically in the temperature range of 200-300°C. The chemistry behind torrefaction involves mainly the removal of oxygen from the biomass structure after exposure to a hot, oxygen-deficient atmosphere. This causes the biomass to transform into a more homogeneous solid product, that typically contains about 70% of the mass and 90% of the energy initially present in the biomass. Various torrefaction reactor concepts are being developed by different companies (Koppejan et al., 2014; SECTOR, D3.2, 2014).

Level of commercial application Several demonstration and commercial plants have produced large batches of torrefied biomass pellets that have been used during several large-scale co-firing trials in coal-fired power plants.
Important pilots and EU projects Andritz demo plant in Denmark with a production capacity of approximately 1 ton/hr. Topell’s semi-commercial plant in The Netherlands with a production capacity of 60 000 t/a. The EU-SECTOR FP7 project has played an important role in the development and optimisation of dedicated recipes for biomass torrefaction and densification. These have been tailored for various end use applications such as co-firing, gasification and small/medium-scale combustion.
Expected Developments Broad market introduction of torrefied biomass pellets has slowed down as a result of the uncertainty for biomass co-firing incentives, as well as the financial situation of European utilities. Alternative small- and medium-scale outlets such as heat generation in pellets boilers could take off earlier.
Current Technology Readiness Level Level 9, System ready for full scale deployment
Expected Technology Readiness Level in 2030 Level 9, System ready for full scale deployment
Justify expected Level in 2030
SECTOR. Deliverable No. D3.2 Report on optimisation opportunities by integrating torrefaction into existing industries, V. Arpiainen and C. Wilen, 2014. IEA Bioenergy Task 32 report Status overview of torrefaction technologies, J. Koppejan et al., 2012 ISO 17225-4:2013: Solid biofuels-Fuel specifications and classes-Part 4: Graded wood chips

Capacity of outputs (typical values)
Torrefied biomass                      (m3/hour) 10.7     LHV  (GJ / m3) 18.7
Conversion efficiencies: net returns biofuels and biobased products(GJ/GJ biomass input) typical: 0.90 min: 0.89 max: 0.91   typical in 2020: 0.90 typical in 2030: 0.90  

Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2014:
Report on optimisation opportunities by integrating torrefaction into exisiting industries. SECTOR Project. D3.2. 2014.
External inputs (not generated by the biomass in the conversion process)
Power     (kW): 82

Indication: experience based data No

Number of possible full load hours per year (hours) 8000
Number of typical full load hours per year (hours) 8000
Typical Lifetime of Equipment (years) 25
Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2020:

Data sources used to define conversion efficiencies in 2030:

General data sources for technical properties:
SECTOR. Deliverable No. D3.2 Report on optimisation opportunities by integrating torrefaction into existing industries B. Batidzirai et al. / Energy 62 (2013) 196e214

Biomass input, common for the technology used:    Stemwood from thinnings originating from nonconifer trees, Stemwood from final fellings & thinnings;  Stemwood from thinnings originating from conifer trees, Stemwood from final fellings & thinnings;     
Biomass input, technically possible but not common:    Cereals straw, Straw/stubbles;       
Traded form Wood chips
Dimensions P45S: 3,15 mm < P < 45 mm     Fine fraction F10: < 10 %

Moisture content (% wet basis) typical 45 max 50
Minimal bulk density (kg/m3, wet basis) 120
Maximum ash content (% dry basis) 3
Minimal ash melting point (= initial deformation temperature) (°C) 1000
Volatile matter (only for thermally trated material, torrefied or steam explosed) (VM%)

Maximum allowable contents
Nitrogen, N (wt%, dry) 1 Sulphur, S (wt%, dry) 0.1 Chlorine, Cl (wt%, dry) 0.05
Optional attributes
Net caloric value (MJ/kg) min max
Gross caloric value (MJ/kg) min max
Biogas yield (m3 gas/ton dry biomass) % methane
Cellulose content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Hemicellulose content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Lignin content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Crude fibre content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Starch content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Sugar content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Fat content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Protein content (g/kg dry matter) min max
Acetyl group content (g/kg dry matter) min max

Investments costs in 2014 (€): 29000000 expected in 2020 (€): 29000000 expected in 2030 (€): 29000000
Labour needed Operators (FTE): 15 Staff and engineering (FTE): 1

Edited by: Ayla Uslu, Tijs Lammens