The Zilkha Black™ Pellet: Transformative Technology.

The Zilkha Black™ Pellet is a revolutionary advancement in the pellet industry: our additive-free pellet is water-resistant, durable, and an ideal replacement for coal. All pellets—composed of compressed wood pre-dried to reduce moisture content—increase energy density, create a uniform fuel, and decrease transportation costs when compared to unprocessed green wood taken directly from forests. Wood in forests generally contains 50% moisture content. So for every pound of wood you transport, you are also transporting a pound of water. The Zilkha Black™ Pellet improves pellet technology. Our sturdy Black pellet is abrasion resistant, increasing safety and reducing product loss during storage and transport. Because it is water-resistant, it can be transported and stored outside like coal. And it has a higher energy density than conventional white pellets.The first large shipment of Zilkha Black™ Pellets had enough energy to provide electric power to over 34,000 European households for a year.

The Zilkha Black™ Pellet eliminates the need for covered storage units at shipping ports and power stations.

Business can proceed as usual come rain or shine, and safety is improved across the board.

Conventional Pellet Drawbacks.

The conventional white pellet commonly used today has many safety and operational issues. White pellets are very water sensitive, fragile, and potentially explosive. Brief exposure to rain or snow causes white pellets to disintegrate. Therefore, transportation and facilities must be covered, and loading/unloading can occur only in good weather. In addition, because they are
fragile, white pellets can easily break down into a potentially explosive dust when handled and moved during shipment. The explosive behavior of white pellet dust has a risk factor similar to that of sugar or grain dust. Between the costs associated with protecting the pellets from water and the waste of product, white pellets can be expensive to transport and use.

The Zilkha Black™ Pellet can seamlessly replace coal.

Coal is the world’s principal energy source, supplying 46% of the energy in the US, because it is cheap and widely available. However, each year we are becoming more conscious of the health risks and harmful emissions associated with generating electricity from coal. Wood pellets can be integrated into coal-fired plants to create a cleaner emissions profile. By making this change, overall power plant hazardous emissions decrease, plants can comply with clean air regulations, and energy companies will build fewer new power plants—keeping carbon emissions down.Retrofitting coal-fired plants to receive and use white pellets is a very expensive process because of the following requirements: dust control; protection for the pellets from rain, snow, and humidity; and the use of separate receiving mechanisms and grinding processes. Removing these obstacles lowers the cost of switching from fossil fuel electricity to renewable electricity.

The Zilkha Black® Pellet has characteristics that are closer to coal’s than a conventional white pellet’s.

It can be incorporated into existing coal piles, reclaimers, conveyors, and transfer stations. It grinds the same way as coal in coal crushers and does not have a white pellet’s transportation issues because it can be transported in open trucks, rail cars, and barges—just like coal. It can even be piled on the ground, left exposed to rain and snow. The Zilkha Black® Pellet allows coal-fired plants to transition to renewable biomass without making steep capital investments (which are often passed on to consumers) in infrastructure associated with the use of a conventional white pellet.

Zilkha Black™ Pellets are available for testing.

Zilkha’s first commercial Black pellet plant is located in Crockett, Texas. The plant is rated at 40,000 metric tons of pellets per year and started production in October 2010 to supply test volumes to potential customers. We have shipped pellets to over a dozen utilities in Europe and North America for use in coal-fired power plants. In May 2010, Zilkha Biomass Fuels purchased the assets of a 500,000-metric-ton-per-year pellet plant located in Selma, Alabama, at a bankruptcy auction. This plant, which had been operating for less than two years, has 15 pellet mills along with coolers, dryers, conveyors, and loading facilities. Zilkha Biomass Selma began commercial production in 2015 and is a 275,000-metric-ton-per-year Black pellet plant. Zilkha Biomass Selma is the first full-scale commercial Black pellet plant in the world.

Our Process.

The production of traditional biomass pellets generally involves 4 steps: chipping, drying, hammer milling, and pellet pressing. Zilkha Biomass Energy’s technology simply adds 1 step to this process.

Our proprietary thermal conditioning process involves the application of pressure, heat and steam to biomass, and it takes place in one piece of stainless steel equipment. This technology pulls lignin inside biomass to the surface which gives the Zilkha Black™ Pellet its special qualities.