The Areva group has acquired a technology enabling the production of bio-coal. Based on the Thermya torrefaction* process, this technology, currently being deployed commercially, produces plant fuel from biomass which can replace fossil coal used in the production of thermal energy and electricity. Alstom has not yet revealed the source but it was formerly owned by a company based in southwest France and employs a team of twenty people involved in the biocoal activity.

The acquisition is in line with the group’s strategy to broaden its offer in the field of renewable energies by placing a stronger emphasis on technology. Luc Oursel, president and CEO of AREVA, declared: “This acquisition strengthens our position in the field of renewable energies, and establishes Areva on the global biocoal market, which has considerable potential. Thanks to the acquisition of this unique torrefaction technology, and on the strength of Areva Bioenergy’s 35 years of experience, the group is particularly well-placed to capture a significant share of the bio-coal market.”

*The torrefaction (or depolymerisation) of biomass is a thermo-chemical process aiming to eliminate water and alter part of the organic matter of biomass to break down its fibres. Torrefied biomass (or bio-coal) offers a number of benefits, including high energy density, hydrophobia, and increased grindability.