Electricity

Romania to decarbonize its coal power plants with wood pellets

Romania to use wood pellets as fuel to decarbonize coal power plants

From left: energy minister Virgil Popescu and Bjørn H. Knappskog, CEO of Arbaflame (photo: Arbaflame)

Published

November 8, 2021

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Published:

November 8, 2021

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The Government of Romania and Norway’s wood pellets producer Arbaflame have signed a letter of intent to convert coal power plants to the company’s Arbacore pellets. The first power plant to start using it will be the 300 MW Paroşeni power plant. The move can be seen as a way to decarbonize the power sector and achieve just transition.

Romania’s energy minister Virgil Popescu and Bjørn H. Knappskog, CEO of Arbaflame, have signed a letter of intent with the aim of cutting Paroşeni power plant’s CO2 emissions and then doing the same at the rest of the country’s coal power plants. Testing at the first plant will begin in the first half of 2022, Arbaflame said in a press release.

The transition to Arbaflame wood pellets will reduce the power plants’ CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent

Romania said in May that it intends to stop the excavation of coal in 2032 at the latest and replace conventional power plants in the meantime. The Paroşeni power plant is located in Jiu Valley, one of the European Union’s 20 coal regions, those that are heavily dependent on the mining of the fossil fuel and coal-fired power plants.

Arbaflame said it has entered into cooperation with the Romanian state to phase out the entire country’s coal consumption with Arbacore pellets. It claims the conversion would reduce the power plants’ CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent and that it plans to eventually build factories to produce Arbacore pellets in Romania.

Arbacore pellets have been specially developed to replace or mix with fossil fuel in coal-fired power plants

The patented Arbacore pellets have been specially developed to replace or mix with fossil fuel in coal-fired power plants. The pellets are brown, almost black, with a higher energy content and a film that makes them water-resistant, according to the company’s website.

Arbacore shares many of the properties of coal. In addition, only slight modifications are required to use existing equipment for e.g. pulverization and combustion. The pellets have many benefits compared to the equivalent white pellets including approximately 40% more energy per cubic meter.

Energy minister: historic agreement

Energy minister Virgil Popescu stressed the importance of collaboration.

“This is a historic agreement for the Romanian Energy System and for the Jiu Valley. This partnership implies massive decarbonization because we will replace the burnt coal in the Paroşeni power plant with sustainably produced pellets with a low rate of CO2 emissions. I stated that Romania needs to reach ambitious targets in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we will achieve them,” he said.

Popescu underlined the cooperation with the Norwegian company would also bring a boost for the economy in Jiu Valley, pointing to the plan to build a pellet factory in Paroşeni.

The surplus will be exported, so Romania will have a double benefit, Popescu added.

“We are very pleased to confirm our common intention to convert the coal power plants in Romania to use clean energy. Romania has a long-term plan to replace all coal consumption, and this is completely in line with Arbaflame’s vision: to accelerate coal phasing-out in Europe,” said Bjørn H. Knappskog.

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