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Launch of new Hybrid Microwave TORBED platform technology

29-Aug-18 With regulators and markets increasingly demanding the decarbonisation of high-emitting industrial sectors, we are on the verge of a low-carbon industrial revolution. However, to get over the line the products and services supplied to these sectors need to transform. To embrace this rapid shift towards precise, electrically fuelled novel solid processing, Torftech, University of Nottingham (‘UoN’ - Microwave Process Engineering Research Group) and Teledyne e2v (supplier of large scale industrial microwave generators) have agreed to develop and launch a new Hybrid Microwave TORBED ('HMT') technology platform. In total, some £1m has been committed to demonstrate this world leading technology at a significant scale.

This demonstration facility will be capable of producing commercial quantities of a range of products such as:

  • Food - pasteurisation, cooking, blanching, drying, roasting, toasting, puffing, expansion and baking.  This follows on from the successful pilot trials already completed with the HMT.
  • Minerals - bloating, exfoliating, expanding, roasting, drying, calcining, thermal shattering and carbon removal.
  • Catalysts/zeolites - impregnation, regeneration, recovery, calcination.
  • Carbon activation - biomass and coal devolatilisation and activation, impregnation.
  • Waste streams - pasteurisation, devolatilisation.
In all cases, the ability to process materials in very short retention times and with absolute precision enables the much lower energy consumption that is necessary for renewable energy sources. 

Back to our roots...

01-Aug-18 - The TORBED processors were originally conceived to increase the efficiency and reduce the scale and cost of bulk manufacture of vermiculite.  They have subsequently been used in many other applications.  We are delighted to have received an order for our twenty-first vermiculite machine.  When shipped in December, it will join an operational fleet the oldest of which is approaching its 30th anniversary. 

Camstar Ingredients Herb and Spice processor in production

26-Mar-18 180th TORBED Processor successfully in production - see Camstar Ingredients of Eye in Suffolk

Large Scale Biomass Drying Grows Apace

14-Nov-17 - Last year we announced the successful commissioning and continuous operation of a biomass dryer built by Cedrus in Poland.  This machine can handle up to 10 tonnes per hour of sawdust at 50% moisture and is designed to dry it to a 12% moisture content.  Following on from this, we have just completed and commissioned a further dryer for the same application and also a dryer that is being used to dry vegetable matter from over 80% moisture content.  These relatively high-volume dryers are compact, 3.5 or 4.5 metres in diameter, and together with their ancillary equipment, occupy a space no more than 10mx10mx10m - much less than that taken by rival technologies.  The TORBED processors’ traditional strengths of simplicity and accuracy combine to produce evenly dried biomass of consistent quality around the clock. 

Orders currently in hand include one dryer for sewage sludge.  A more complex, double tiered, stainless steel dryer designed to dry citrus pulp with a moisture content of around 90% is also in manufacture.

180th TORBED Processor in production

12-Nov-17 - We are currently manufacturing 180th TORBED processor.  Due for commissioning in early January 2018, this T750 unit will be used for drying and roasting spices and food flavourings.

Production of Activated Carbon from Straw

23-Jun-17 - Significant quantities of activated carbon are now being produced from wheat straw. The 1m diameter TORBED non pressurised air blown gasifier installed at a heating station near Wroclaw in Poland is producing more than 20 tonnes per week as a valuable byproduct that is finding a ready market for environmental application. The char characteristics can be seen here.

Ingetecsa commission two starch driers utilising the TORBED Technology

31-March-2017 - Process engineering group Ingetecsa of Barcelona has announced that it has commissioned two new spiral flash drier plants utilising the TORBED processs reactors under licence from Torftech. The driers were installed in Indonesia (4m diameter) and Thailand (3m diameter). With the successful commissioning of the 10 t/h 4.5m diameter sawdust drier by Cedrus of Poland with an increasing order book developing, it is clear that these new drier ranges are finding growing markets with their reduced capital costs, higher efficiency and greatly reduced footprint.

TORBED Biomass and Waste to Energy Technologies to be made available in India

23-Nov-2016 - Following on from the November visit to India led by the British Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, the Torftech Group of the UK and Mago Thermal of India have signed agreements to allow them to work together in India on the establishment of distributed power plant utilising biomass and wastes as fuel. The Torftech Group offers their proprietary TORBED process technologies for converting rice husks, rice straw and other biomass to energy and valuable by-products. Mago Thermal is an established supplier of complete systems to the Indian marketplace utilising their energy conversion plant construction experience.

Chris Dodson OBE DL, Chairman of the Torftech Group, commented “This is an exciting opportunity for the two companies to work together to supply India’s biomass to energy sector. The TORBED technologies allow unique by-products such as biochar which significantly improve the economics of these plants.”

Naveen Goswami of Mago Thermal stated that “The TORBED process technologies are an ideal fit for the Indian biomass to energy market.  This technology transfer between our two companies will enable Mago Thermal to increase focus on delivering the unique power plant solutions that give Indian customers a competitive edge on both costing and efficiency”.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Dodson on and +44 1635 898 754 #1021

Naveen Goswami on and + 91 9971406655, + 919971466655

Torftech travels to India with British Prime Minister Theresa May

07-Nov-2016 - We are proud to have been selected to travel to India with the British Prime Minister and Dr Liam Fox of DIT - see here

Biomass Dryer Commissioning in Poland

23 Sep 2016 - The TORBED dryer order by Cedrus earlier in the year has been completed and will start commissioning tests in early October.

Continued Exploration

20 Sep 2016 - Being an IP and design engineering company, curiosity, supported by rigorous science, has been at the heart of everything Torftech has done and has led us around the globe and across industrial sectors.  Continuing in this tradition, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Rob Blissett as Process Development Manager.  Rob comes to us from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between Leeds University and Torftech. His experience in ashes and carbon product development will be invaluable to the group.

Prototype Delivered

09-Sep-2016 - Building on our experience with Angkor Bio Cogen, we were asked if we could design a small rice-husk fired TORBED reactor-based system to generate heat from rice husk for use in driers at rice mills.  The key performance target for the unit was that it would not produce carcinogenic crystalline silica ash.  We are pleased to announce that initial tests on the ash were passed with flying colours and that the reactor is now being prepared for its journey to Cambodia for extended field testing.

Biomass Dryers

26-Aug-2016 - Torftech receives a follow-up order from Cedrus of Poland for two further TORBED dryers.


29-Jul-2016 - Niels Overgaard, managing director of our Torftech Energy business has relocated to Singapore.  The ability of the TORBED reactors to process troublesome biomass wastes from crops such as oil palm and rice and produce not only heat and power but by-products with significant value gives us a novel angle from which to address the Asian market.

Carbon bonus

29-Jul-2016 - MZEC, the district heating company at Swidnice in Poland, uses a TORBED gasifier to generate heat from biomass, alongside its fleet of conventional coal-fired boilers.  When fired with straw, this EBR produces a significant quantity of biochar, which has commercial uses in soil remediation and improvement.  Several tonnes of biochar have been sold and more is on order, giving MZEC a significant stream of additional income from a valuable by-product.

20th Anniversary

15-Jul-2016 - Torftech supplied 13 TORBED 6.0m diameter reactors to the Tiwai Point Comalco aluminium smelter in New Zealand back in 1996.  Used for scrubbing noxious waste gases, these reactors have been in operation ever since.

Biomass Drier for Poland

31-May-2016 - We are pleased to announce that we have received an order for a 3.5m TORBED drier which will be used to dry waste sawdust to manufacture “white” pellets for biomass boilers.  Our customer is Cedrus in Poland who will manufacture parts of the unit under licence from our group.

Fat Free!

31-Mar-2016 - The TORBED reactors ability to provide precision processing makes them ideal for producing snack foods that are not fried in oil.  At the end of March we completed the installation of a second machine at a major international snack food manufacturer.  In another first for the company, this TORBED reactor was manufactured in the UK.

Torftech Energy leads decentralised biomass and waste gasification

03-Feb-2016 - Last year, Torche Energy - an industrial joint-venture between Torftech Energy and CHE Group of Malaysia – signed a contract with CHEVO Biobrid for delivery of a combined power and biochar production plant in front of senior executives of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, MIDA.

The plant will use Torftech Energy’s gasification technology - the TORBED reactor - to produce 1MW of electricity and valuable biochar from Empty Fruit Bunch, a biomass waste from the palm oil industry.  It will use a second TORBED reactor as a dryer, offering high efficiency and a small footprint, reducing the moisture of the feedstock prior to gasification

The plant will resolve a significant waste challenge, provide decentralised off-grid power for industrial use and biochars for soil improvement and other  value-added uses.

The design has been completed and construction has commenced. Commissioning will start in Q2 2016. This exciting  project cements Torftech Energy’s position  as a leader in the field of gasification, with proven ability to handle a variety of biomass and waste feedstocks, including wood, straw, rice husk and a range of waste-based fuels.

With multiple TORBED gasifiers now in operation, the added benefits of the application are becoming apparent. Their ability to handle fine feedstocks (such as sawdust) alone or combined with larger feed sizes sets this technology apart for small to medium scale application. Close control over operating temperatures within the gasifiers allows hitherto difficult materials (e.g., straws) to be processed with ease.  This flexibility, combined with high value, high surface area carbon char by-products forms part of a unique value proposition based on high quality British innovation and design.

Regeneration in Louisiana

11-Jan-2016 - Torftech first provided a reactor to Catalyst Recovery Louisiana in 1997. Having operated near continuously for nearly 20 years, this reactor, which is used to regenerate spent refinery catalysts, was in need of refurbishment.  Delivery of a package of supplies and spare parts was completed before Christmas.  Once installed, this will allow the reactor a significantly extended life. 

Held to Account

01-Jan-2016 - We are pleased to announce the appointment of Hayley White as financial controller.  Hayley joins us after a family based career break.  She previously worked for Schroders. 

Another good performance!

30-Oct-2015 - The UNFCCC has published its latest annual monitoring report on Angkor Bio Cogen, the rice husk-fired power station in Cambodia that has a TORBED EBR at its heart.  The report and its predecessors remain available on the UNFCCC website under project reference 0363.  These provide easily available external validation of the long term operational effectiveness of the TORBED in an operating power station.  They also confirm the TORBED reactor’s unique ability to combust rice husk without producing crystalline silica ash, which is highly carcinogenic.  In addition to the health benefits, the amorphous silica produced by the TORBED combustor has a wide range of valuable industrial uses.

Group appoints new Finance Director

29-May-2016 - We are pleased to announce that Andrew Bride has joined the board as group finance director.  Andrew has been working with us as an adviser since January 2014 and brings to the group, in addition to his direct financial skills,  many years of experience in the infrastructure sector and a deep understanding of many of the markets in which we work.   Andrew is a Chartered Accountant.  His academic background is in economics.

Topell Energy reaches another torrefaction milestone

23-Feb-2014 - Torrefaction, a staged roasting process of woody biomass, to create a dense product with a high calorific value and coal like characteristics - but yet renewable - has reached a new milestone, which could accelerate growth of the emerging torrefaction market.

Topell Energy, a leading provider of innovative torrefaction solutions, has successfully provided a 2300 tonnes sample of torrefied pellets from their plant in Duiven, the Netherlands, to test co-firing performance at traditional coal power plants and the results are reported to be excellent (source:, press release, 4 February 2014).

Apart from excellent potential as a coal replacement, torrefied wood offers lower cost and safer transportation vs. traditional wood pellets. In addition, new areas of usage are under development, including designer carbon for use in industrial processes and as feedstock for higher grade syngas generation for CHP plants and ultimately for production of bio-chemicals and bio-fuels.   

The Topell torrefaction plant at Duiven is utilising TORBED reactors for the core torrefaction process, offering unique process control and the ability to produce consistent output efficiently. The TORBED reactors and the associated Torftech Technology is exclusively owned and marketed globally by Torftech Energy, a progressive provider of innovative biomass and waste feedstock upgrading and decentralised power plant solutions.

Successful commissioning of waste coal recovery process

21-Jan-2014 - Torftech is pleased to announce the successful commissioning of a coal slimes recovery plant for Coalstar Pty at EVRAZ (Highveld Steel) in South Africa. A 1m diameter TORBED unit is used to flash dry 2 t/h of ultra-fine coal from slimes. This new process has the ability to be scaled to turn millions of tonnes of hitherto waste and valueless coal into a valuable resource for pulverised fuel (PF) combustion processes without any need for milling the coal feed. This is a major advance in the capability to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy industrial plant through reduction of uncontrolled losses to the environment and removal of need to mill with attendant power consumption.

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