Environmentally friendly biocoal to be produced at Follum, Hønefoss

-“Biocoal is a sustainable form of energy which can give the Norwegian forest industry a much-needed boost,” says Treklyngen AS’s general manager, Rolf Jarle Aaberg.

-“Viken Skog’s acquisition of the Follum site, a paper mill until 2012, signalled our intention to develop new, sustainable business in the forest industry. This project can be realised now, and is an important step in the development of the industry,” says Aaberg.

The biocoal planned to be produced at Follum is 100% timber-based. It is a hard, water-resistant and dust-free, and has almost identical handling properties to fossil coal. Arbaflame has patented the production technology.

-“Biocoal replaces ordinary coal without requiring major refits of coal-fired power plants. This makes it easier for polluting coal-fired plants to begin producing environmentally friendly electricity,” says Bjørn Knappskog, Arbaflame’s board chair and majority shareholder.

Arbaflame has produced more than 100,000 tonnes of biocoal at its own pilot facility at Kongsvinger. The first full-scale test was carried out at Vattenfall’s Reuter West coal-fired plant in Berlin, and over the past four years successful full-scale co-firing tests have been completed at eight power plants in Europe and Canada. Arbaflame’s product is considered to be world-leadingg, and is produced by patented Norwegian technology.

-“The establishment of our first full-scale production plant at Follum will give us the capacity to deliver larger volumes, and allow us to compete fully in the market,” says Knappskog.

The price of biocoal is currently higher than the price of fossil coal, although the difference is being reduced by rising CO2 costs and incentives that promote renewable energy. The coal-power industry views biocoal positively, and considers it the most cost-effective instrument for reducing CO2 emissions.

-“The EU has adopted the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, and coal-fired power plants account for a large proportion of global CO2 emissions. Various European coal-fired plants are showing considerable interest in our biocoal,” says Knappskog.

The planned facility at Follum will have a production capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes per year. The investment budget for the plant is approximately NOK 350 million. The parties aim to make an investment decision during the course of 2014, and to begin construction shortly thereafter. Going forward, the parties plan to present the project to public and private investors, and to seek cooperation with and investment support from public support schemes.

-“If year-round production of biocoal at Follum replaces the fossil coal used by one coal-fired power plant, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 400,000 tonnes,” says Knappskog.

Viken Skog purchased Follum paper factory from Norske Skog ASA in 2012, planning to establish new forest industry operations on the site.

-“Our objective was that the first production plant would begin operating within five years from our take-over . We are working systematically to achieve our goals, and this project brings us a large step further in this process,” says Viken Skog’s managing director, Ragnhild Borchgrevink.

About Treklyngen

Treklyngen is a subsidiary in the Viken Skog group. Viken Skog is Norway’s largest forest-owner cooperative, with around 10,600 members in Eastern Norway, and the country’s largest timber marketer. Viken Skog has ownership interests in sawmills and wood-pellet producers. Treklyngen’s purpose is to promote new industry in Norway based on timber and forest resources. Its plans for the Follum site at Hønefoss include large-scale production plants for energy and process-chemistry products, as well as various other projects.

About Arbaflame

The Norwegian company Arbaflame AS was founded in 2005, and has patented unique technology for producing biocoal capable of replacing ordinary coal at coal-fired power plants. Over the past four years, the company has conducted successful cofiring tests at eight coal-fired plants in close cooperation with large energy companies. The company’s majority shareholder is Pemco AS, which also owns Peterson Packaging Group AS and Pemco Trepellets AS. Pemco is a privately held industrial group.

For further comments, please contact:

Rolf Jarle Aaberg, general manager of Treklyngen AS, email rja@viken.skog.no or tel. (+47) 97 70 81 38, or Linda Camilla Strømsod, communications manager, email lcs@viken.skog.no or tel. (+47) 926 83 644 or (+47) 32 10 30 00.

Bjørn Knappskog, Arbaflame board chair, tel. (+47) 90 13 95 71, or Ben Holan, press contact for Arbaflame, email ben.holan@corpcom.no or tel. (+47) 47 409 459.

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