Process industries such as steel, pulp, and minerals require clean fuel and high-energy combustion gases  -- two requirements limiting alternative fuels’ suitability as substitutions. Alternative fuels have also been less competitive due to their high costs. As a result, coal, natural gas, and oil remain the most common fuels for these industries.

But not for long. Cortus is introducing green power to process industries, based on a new biomass gasification technology -- WoodRoll®. WoodRoll relies on an innovative three-step process to turn biomass into clean gaseous fuel.

WoodRoll gives each process -- drying, pyrolysis and gasification -- its own separate reactor. In the pyrolysis reactor, biomass is broken down to a carbon char, pyrolysis gas, and condensable residues (tar, etc) in an oxygen-free atmosphere.

Process heating requirements are met by formed pyrolysis gas, burned during both the drying and gasification steps. High thermal efficiency is achieved by: using the heat surplus from gasification to heat the pyrolysis reactor, vaporizing water in the gasification reactor with outgoing synthesis gas; and employing condensation heat released as steam from the dryer.

Unique to the WoodRoll process is the fact that char is gasified in a reactor that is heated indirectly; the carbon is gasified with steam and produces synthesis gas. The energy gas does not mix with exhausts from combustion or nitrogen from the air, which means clean synthesis gas, without condensable residues or nitrogen aggregates.

Cortus has built its business model on on-site supply of renewable energy to process industries - the method is both cost-efficient and better for the environment.

With fluctuating fossil fuel prices, projected costs for CO2 emissions, and extensive demand for fuels, process industries are in great need of this stable and sustainable alternative. In addition, availability of renewable fuels can contribute to the energy independence of many countries.

Using green power in process industries will greatly boost use of renewables. EU’s renewable energy target for 2010 is 5.75%, which increases to 30% by 2020 [20% annual growth]. Sweden’s target is 50% renewables by 2020. The US and the G8 countries have also committed to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.

The WoodRoll biomass gasification system provides green power for heavy industry combustion processes that until now have been dependent on fossil fuels. If implemented in just 10% of the steel, pulp, cement and similar industries in the US and Europe, WoodRoll gasification could reduce CO2 emissions by 32 million tonnes per year by 2020.*

Increasing fuel flexibility and widening the applications for green power will be key to growing the market for WoodRoll technology in the coming years. Fuel flexibility means using low-grade renewable fuels but being able to do it efficiently and without compromising process performance. New applications mean fulfilling the more demanding requirements found in catalytic processing.

Expansion will focus on the Nordic countries as well as the EU and North America, where the long term business model is well accepted. Current Cortus customers and their related groups will provide marekt expansion for the next five years. The demand from emerging markets as well as developing the huge potential of distributed heat and power plants will be met through partners and agents working closely with our company.

The capital required to build a new, green industrial energy infrastructure is a major barrier for WoodRoll technology. Long-term profitability often loses out due to high upfront costs. Finding customers wanting to move into green power and be early adapters is not a challenge, but finding smart solutions for sourcing capital still is.

As potential investors become more familiar with energy market conditions, funding should become somewhat less challenging.

Cortus was started in 2006 by Rolf Ljunggren. Building on his extensive experience in industrial gases and combustion, Ljunggren has worked for a decade to perfect production of gases with an increased heating value by using air separation technology. WoodRoll’s innovation is to leave nitrogen and air out of the process, thus producing clean synthesis gas without dilutions or impurities.