Equipment manufacturer Heyl + Patterson (Pittsburgh, USA) makes "calciners" capable of heating materials well above 2000 degrees fahrenheit. The calciner can also be used to create torrefied biomass, though it only heats the woody biomass to approximately 550 degrees fahrenheit. 

H+P worked with the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota to install a large calciner at its Coleraine Minerals Research Laboratory. This unit and improvements to the building have totaled in excess of $3 million, making the facility unique in the U.S., if not the world, in that it is a university institute capable of making industrial scale quantities of biofuel continuously. The calciner installed at CMRL can generate 14 tons of torrefied biomass per day.

Torrefied Biomass

Torrefied biomass is cellulosic biomaterial that has been thermally processed in a low-oxygen environment. Since it is made from biomass, it is net-carbon neutral and, while it exhibits all of the positive traits of coal, including low ash content, high energy density, hydrophobicity and grindability, it does not contain heavy metals, sulfur and net carbon impact of the fossil fuel.

Biocoal, before it is densified, resembles the chipped biomass that enters the reaction. Generally dark brown in color, biocoal produced by the Natural Resources Research Institue (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota can be custom densified to fit the end use. Whether creating small 3/8" x ½" pellets for use in a furnace, 1.5"x1" pucks for use in the medium sized boilers, or larger briquettes to be ground and burned in fluidized bed combustion, biocoal has the unique ability to fit any end use or transportation mode.