On July 28, the Waste to Wisdom (W2W) team spent a full day showing public attendees a variety of equipment used in biomass conversion. Over 40 guests spent a warm morning on Green Diamond Resources timberland outside Arcata, California, where we watched researchers test a new, one-pass sawdust machine manufactured by Nelson Bio. Han-Sup Han, the W2W Project Investigator, and Joel Bisson, W2W Project Coordinator, led a discussion on project objectives.
In the afternoon, we found much cooler temps in Samoa, Calif. where researchers set up a large integrated system test with a torrefier, briquetter, and a biomass gasifier generator. Attendees learned how each of the machines contributes to the project’s objective of finding better ways to utilize forest residues for bioenergy and bio-based products.
Here’s more detail on the machines:
W2W tested the productivity and fuel consumption of a 400 hp Nelson Bio sawdust machine that produces approximately 10–20 green tons of sawdust per hour. The feedstock for the test was processed (delimbed) stemwood separated out from slash generated during a logging operation.
The machine was tested to see
- how much it costs to operate, and
- how well it produces fine particles, which are the desired feedstock when making briquettes or pellets.
The fine particles can also be torrefied prior to densification to produce a hydro-phobic product further adding to its value.
Torrefaction is a process to heat biomass to moderate temperatures (270C to 350C) to remove moisture and light volatiles, which improves the fuel handling characteristics and energy density of biomass. Through the process of torrefaction, woody biomass is converted into a drop in replacement for coal fired boilers or power plants. The torrefier tested in Samoa is a 1,000 lb/hr machine produced by Norris Thermal Technologies. Learn more about this research work.
Briquetting compacts woody biomass into a dense, solid heating fuel. Biomass briquettes are commonly used for residential or industrial heating, but densifying forest residuals can also allows trucks to haul more material per truckload and increase transportation efficiency. During the public demonstration, a 900 lb/hr briquetter produced by RUF Briquetting Systems compacted raw wood chips as well as torrefied wood. Learn more about this research work.
Biomass Gasifier Generator
The All Power Labs’ 20 kW PP20 generator provided electricity to the dryer, the first step before wood chips entered the torrefier. Learn more about this research work.