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Vallourec begins plant operations for the production of biomass charcoal with pioneering technology

Continuous carbonization technology, created and patented by the Company, contributes towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy transition


Minas Gerais, June 26th, 2024 – Vallourec has started operations of a new industrial plant for the production of biomass charcoal, originated from its renewable forests, using Carboval technology in its Florestal unit (Minas Gerais). The process reduces the raw material transformation cycle from 16 days to 16 hours, without releasing methane and using approximately 95% of the energy contained in wood.

The first Carboval reactor was already successfully implemented in Vallourec’s Florestal unit located in Paraopeba (Minas Gerais). Now, three new reactors have gone into operation, with an estimated investment of R$ 90M.

Carboval is an exclusive continuous carbonization technology patented by Vallourec. It has the potential to revolutionize the energy sector, contributing to the Group’s goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions”, says Bertrand Frischmann, Vallourec’s Chief Operating Officer of the Americas.

This innovative technology carbonizes the wood through a vertical reactor, transforming it into biomass charcoal. One Carboval reactor can substitute seven masonry kilns, making the process more automated, safe and sustainable. In addition, Carboval also enables a boost in productivity. In just 16 hours, each reactor is capable of producing up to 22 tons of biomass charcoal with a far superior quality compared to the production of conventional kilns. For example, the charcoal’s fixed carbon content (the source of energy for the chemical reactions) can reach a level of 85%. As a renewable carbon source and potential substitute for petcoke, the potential applications of Carboval go far beyond its current use in blast furnaces, including applications in pelletizing, sintering and other steelmaking processes.

Masonry kilns have reached their technological and sustainable limits. Carboval uses the energy contained in each tree in a more intelligent way. In addition to providing the advantage of allowing for the use of all carbonization by-products, this technology also enables the possibility of using these elements for the cogeneration of electricity. If they are attached to a thermoelectric plant, ten Carboval reactors can generate electricity capable of supplying around two thousand homes and producing charcoal with the ideal technical specifications for the steel industry”, explains André Dezanet, General Manager of Vallourec’s Florestal unit.

New markets


As a result of the carbonization process, the Carboval production process also creates bio-oil, used in the fuel, chemical, food, cosmetic, veterinary and pharmaceutical industries; and pyroligneous extract, used in the agricultural industry as an organic herbicide and for soil conditioning. “We will meet the growing demand for these products in a market which is in transformation, seeking sustainable alternatives to replace elements of fossil origin in the journey to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases”, stated André Dezanet.