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December 2013

The Equipment Issue Providers Talk New, Improved Products Page 22, 32

Plus: Stinger Inc.’s Stacker Rig

Reshapes Bale Harvesting Page 41


Drax Reinvents Rail Wagon for EfďŹ cient Pellet Transport Page 18

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06 EDITOR’S NOTE Widgets Make Our World Go ‘Round

ON THE COVER An accumulator works its way through a corn field near Emmetsburg, Iowa, gathering baled corn stover for delivery to Poet-DSM's Project Liberty, visible on the horizon.

By Tim Portz


PHOTO: Tim Portz


5 16

Fike Inc. GEA Westfalia Separator


2 29 9

Retsch, Inc.


RUD Chain




West Salem Machinery Co.


Williams Crusher


Wolf Material Handling Systems


POWER 10 NEWS 11 COLUMN Biomass: A Carbon Pollution Solution By Bob Cleaves

12 DEPARTMENT Celebrating Bioenergy

The first-ever National Bioenergy Day was celebrated across the U.S. with dozens of demonstrations and tours. By Anna Simet

14 DEPARTMENT Come, and They Will Build It

Lockheed Martin has expanded its vast national security experience to bioenergy applications. By Anna Simet

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by BBI International

Biomass Magazine: (USPS No. 5336) December 2013, Vol. 7, Issue 11. Biomass Magazine is published monthly by BBI International. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biomass Magazine/Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.



Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling Subscriptions Biomass Magazine is free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge of $49.95 for any country outside of the United States, Canada and Mexico. To subscribe, visit www.BiomassMagazine. com or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to Biomass Magazine Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to 701-746-5367. Back Issues & Reprints Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at 701-746-8385 or Advertising Biomass Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Biomass Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 701-746-8385 or Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. Send to Biomass Magazine Letters to the Contributions Editor, 308 2nd Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or email to Please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space.

16 NEWS 17 COLUMN Government Help and Hindrance By Bill Bell

18 DEPARTMENT Reinventing the Railcar

Commissioning 200 purpose-built wagons is one investment Drax is making in the pellet supply chain. By Tim Portz


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22 THERMAL 20 NEWS 22 FEATURE Chipping Away at Innovation

Basing business models on customer feedback, companies are tweaking and improving biomass-sizer offerings. By Keith Loria

BIOGAS 30 NEWS 31 COLUMN Biogas a CHP Opportunity By Amanda Bilek

32 FEATURE Biogas Product Prospectus

Manufacturers are continually improving and designing new products and equipment to meet the needs of the growing, multi-faceted industry. By Anna Simet

ADVANCED BIOFUELS & CHEMICALS 38 NEWS 39 COLUMN New Financing Option Within Reach By Mary Rosenthal

40 FEATURE Taking the Sting Out of Harvest

Stinger Inc. relies heavily on customer feedback for production of cutting-edge biomass baling equipment. By Chris Hanson

Call Toll Free: 1.800.STOKER4 DECEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5


Widgets Make Our World Go ‘Round

Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate to witness a number of biomass-to-energy systems in various stages of development. I began the calendar year reporting on a 100MW biomass power plant being constructed in Florida, and from there I traveled to England, where I saw not TIM PORTZ VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT only a 3,000-MW coal-burning facil& EXECUTIVE EDITOR ity being converted to biomass puts, but also the port infrastructure required to keep an uninterrupted flow of wood pellets moving to facility’s boilers. I saw the finishing touches put in place on an anaerobic digester that accepts cheese whey from a parmesan cheese plant situated just across the street. I toured pellet mills large and small, and drove through the laydown area on the construction site of one of North America’s first cellulosic ethanol plants. At each of these facilities, probably the only things more interesting than the system itself were the various widgets that make the whole system viable. At the U.K.’s Port of Tyne, which will receive a significant percentage of the wood pellets that U.K. power generators will buy, I watched in amazement as a pellet hopper near the loading port produced a vacuum that instantly captured the dust plume created by the bucket full of pellets being dumped into it. Near Emmetsburg, Iowa, I watched as an accumulator and its operator made short work of a field full of round bales of corn stover, which will ultimately be converted into cellulosic ethanol. Finally, I watched as jumbo bags full of small plastic discs resembling Trivial Pursuit game pieces were dumped into a digester’s primary reactor, where they will provide media for the microorganisms digesting the organics in the cheese whey to live on. This issue of Biomass Magazine takes a close look at the equipment that makes the larger systems we all find so fascinating possible. Without a device to efficiently gather and stack biomass bales, the cellulosic ethanol industry simply will not pencil out. Digesters without adequate pumps and mixers will fail to achieve the biogas production levels required to make the project work financially. Without innovation in grinders and chippers, the growth rate of the exploding pellet market could arguably be slowed. As an industry, we all tend to celebrate the larger system, but this month we celebrate the ingenuity in the development of the widgets that make these incredible systems work.





EXTERNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS Timothy Cesarek, Enerkem Inc. Shane Chrapko, Himark Biogas Stacy Cook, Koda Energy Benjamin Anderson, University of Iowa Gene Zebley, Hurst Boiler Andrew Held, Virent Inc. Kyle Goerhing, Eisenmann Corp.

INDUSTRY EVENTS¦ International Biomass Conference & Expo March 24-26, 2014

Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, this event brings current and future producers of bioenergy and biobased products together with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. It’s a true one-stop shop–the world’s premier educational and networking junction for all biomass industries. 866-746-8385 |

Pellet Supply Chain Summit March 24, 2014

Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida As the pellet export production capacity is set to more than double in the next 18 to 24 months, this summit will investigate the contributions of each stakeholder group along the supply chain and the challenges they’ll have to overcome as production and export capacity ramp up. Tailored to the forest products sector’s unique opportunity, this is a mustattend event for landowners, local and regional economic development officers, loggers, logistics providers, pellet manufacturers, commodity brokers, shipping companies and port professionals. Co-located with the 2014 International Biomass Conference & Expo being held in Orlando, the summit is a compelling combination of the right topics being discussed at the right place at the right time. 866-746-8385 |

International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

Unlocking the Treasure in Cellulose

June 9-12, 2014

National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo October 13-15, 2014

Hyatt Minneapolis Minneapolis, Minnesota Produced by BBI International, this national event will feature the world of advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals—technology scale-up, project finance, policy, national markets and more—with a core focus on the industrial, petroleum and agribusiness alliances defining the national advanced biofuels industry. With a vertically integrated program and audience, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo is tailored for industry professionals engaged in producing, developing and deploying advanced biofuels, biobased platform chemicals, polymers and other renewable molecules that have the potential to meet or exceed the performance of petroleumderived products. 866-746-8385 |

It’s a fact. Cellulosic feedstocks allow biofuel producers to turn what was once considered waste into treasure. The key: processing techniques that maximize fuel yield from every ton of feedstock. For more than 30 years, decanters and separators from GEA Westfalia Separator have been used to produce ethanol and biodiesel. Our process know-how, combined with a complete range of machines, allows us to develop solutions for the toughest separation challenges. So whether you are considering processing wood chips, grasses, corn stalks, corn cobs, corn stover or other cellulosic feedstocks you can count on us. To learn more contact Keith Funsch at 201-784-4322 or or visit us online at

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Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, Indiana Now in its 30th year, the FEW provides the global ethanol industry with cutting-edge content and unparalleled networking opportunities in a dynamic business-to-business environment. The FEW is the largest, longest running ethanol conference in the world—and the only event powered by Ethanol Producer Magazine. 866-746-8385 |


Genera promotes executives Genera Energy Inc. has appointed Keith Brazzell to the position of chief operating officer. He previously served as the company’s vice president of operations and technology. In his Brazzell new role, with the aim of positioning Genera as a fully integrated biomass system and complete supply chain, Brazzell will ramp up the company’s operational capability by improving and expanding its systems, processes and Jackson resource base. Brazzell has more than 25 years of experience and was instrumental in the design, construction, startup and operation of the DuPont Danisco

Cellulosic Ethanol biorefinery in Vonore, Tenn., serving as plant manager. Genera has also named Sam Jackson to the role of vice president of business development. Jackson is a founder of Genera and led the company’s biomass feedstock production and supply chain programs. Since March 2012, he has served as vice president of biomass feedstock development and supply. HEMCO offers ModuLab HEMCO Corp. has announced the availability of its ModuLab, a custom-designed room enclosure with control systems that meet a variety of environmental and class clean requirements. The product can achieve strict environmental control by incorporating HEPA and carbon filtration to regulate air quality ranging from Class 100 to 100,000. ModuLab has be used in conjunction with dust collectors to control room dust levels. The system is available with a variety of

options, including a selection of doors, lighting, plumbing, electrical and lab furniture systems. BioProcess Algae names new VP of business development BioProcess Algae LLC has named Leslie van der Meulen as its vice president of business development. His duties will include overseeing corporate development activities. Prior to joining BioProcess Algae, van der Meulen was vice president of business development for Aurora Algae, and has also served as director of sales and marketing at Originates/Naturmega. Pacific Green adds director Pacific Green Technologies Inc. has named Andrew Jolly as a non-executive director. Jolly is the founder of Equis Energy Ltd., which specializes in creating, developing and delivering concepts for biomass projects.


He also has expertise is assessing, accreditation and maintenance of renewable energy technologies, the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariffs, Renewable Heat Incentive, and Combined Heat and Power Quality Assurance. FERC chair joins Stoel Rives Stoel Rives LLP has announced that Jon Wellinghoff will join the firm upon completion of his service as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Wellinghoff submitted his resignation to President Obama on Wellinghoff May 28, but no date has been announced for his departure. Wellinghoff was named chairman of the FERC in March 2009. He was appointed FERC commissioner in 2006.

Prior to joining the FERC, he was an energy law attorney focused on client matters related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed generation.

be transferred to a new company, Valmet Corp. Mining, construction and automation businesses will remain part of Metso. The demerger is expected to be complete Dec. 31.

Virent awarded for technology Virent Inc. received third-place honors for the Emerging Innovation Award presented by Securing America’s Future Energy at the organization’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes companies with breakthrough technologies that are driving fundamental improvements in energy security with the potential to reach the market within the next five years.

BIO adds communications director The Biotechnology Industry Organization has announced the addition of veteran congressional and campaign communications strategist Jeff Sadosky as its managing director of communications and deputy to Ken Lisaius, senior vice president of communications. Sadosky most recently served as Sen. Rob Portman’s communications director.

Metso approves demerger Metso Corp.’s extraordinary general meeting has approved the board of director’s proposed plan for a partial demerger, deciding to demerge Metso into two companies. Metso’s pulp, paper and power business will

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Come see what 20 years of working with biomass has taught us.

Discover a wealth of information at DECEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 9

PowerNews Scotia CA 28 MW

St. Felicien, Quebec 21 MW Wendel, CA 30 MW

Tracy, CA 19 MW

Mecca, CA 47 MW

Greenleaf Power purchases Canadian plant Greenleaf Power has finalized the purchase of Quebec-based St. Félicien Cogeneration Power Plant from Enel Green Power, Canada. The 21-megawatt (MW) facility takes in waste wood as feedstock and sells power to Hydro-Quebec under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Steam generated at the facility is supplied to an adjacent sawmill. Enel Green Power has owned and operated the plant since it was established in 2001. "The addition of the St-Félicien facility marks Greenleaf Power’s first acquisition outside of the United States and is another step for us on our growth path," said Hugh

Smith, president of Greenleaf. “St-Félicien Cogeneration adds to our portfolio of biomass plants and increases our total renewable energy capacity to more than 145 megawatts.” Earlier this year, Greenleaf Power announced it had finalized the purchase of the 19-MW Tracy Biomass Power plant in Tracy, Calif., from the U.S. Renewables group. The facility became Greenleaf Power’s fourth biomass plant in the state. The company also operates the Desert View plant in Mecca, Calif., the Honey Lake plant in Wendel, Calif., and the Eel River plant in Scotia, Calif.

Supreme Court to review EPA authority over GHGs from stationary sources The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review whether the Clean Air Act grants the U.S. EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large, stationary sources in the same way it did for automobiles. On Oct. 15, six of nine Supreme Court appeals were accepted by the justices. Arguments are expected to be heard by the court early next year. According to Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, the Supreme Court’s review has implications for the biomass industry, particularly with regard to the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule. “The EPA is dealing with two issues that relate to our industry right now,” he said. “One is how to respond to the D.C. Circuit ruling in July that invalidated the Tailoring Rule deferral [of biogenic emissions], and secondly, how to measure carbon emissions from biogenic sources,” Cleaves said. “Our reading is that the court appears to be prepared to examine the statutory underpinnings of EPA’s authority to regulate power plants, including biomass, and we’ll continue to work with EPA on the underlying accounting rule for biomass to get the science right on the issue.”

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Biomass: A Carbon Pollution Solution BY BOB CLEAVES

In June, President Barack Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a series of executive actions designed to reduce carbon pollution and slow down the adverse effects of climate change. In September, as a direct response to Obama’s call for climate change action, the U.S. EPA announced its first initiative to enact climate regulations. The agency plans to tackle carbon pollution, starting with the largest source of emissions: electricity producers. According to the EPA, power producers were responsible for 33 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and 60 percent of U.S. stationary source greenhouse gas emissions in 2011. Specifically, power plants using fossil fuels are the largest source of U.S. carbon emissions. The proposal includes two main elements. The first is the introduction of a uniform national standard for newly built power plants, aiming to preserve the current diverse mix of energy sources. The second element is a detailed plan to improve carbon emissions standards among existing power plants—a much more difficult prospect that will require close partnership with state environmental agencies, power plant operators, environmental groups and the public. The EPA’s proposal is good news for the biomass industry, because we provide a double benefit in the fight against carbon pollution. Not only does biomass displace the use of fossil fuel with a low-carbon source of energy, it also uses materials that would otherwise be discarded into landfills or open burned, allowing an additional round of carbon capture. Obama has set a deadline of June 1 for a

proposed state-by-state set of standards for existing power plants, and a deadline of June 1, 2015, for final guidelines. To better understand stakeholder needs as the EPA approaches this difficult task, the agency is planning a listening tour for which it will travel from state to state to have discussions on best practices for carbon emissions reduction, and what existing plants need to meet tougher standards. In late September, EPA released a framework for these discussions. The framework explicitly points to such solutions as “fuel switching or cofiring of lowercarbon fuel.” It poses questions ranging from, “What actions are states, utilities, and power plants taking today that reduce CO2 emissions from the electric power system?” to “Are there benefits for coordination among neighboring states in the development and submittal of state plans?” I strongly encourage all biomass power producers to contribute to this process. Through direct engagement with the EPA on its carbon reduction proposal, we can emphasize the many benefits we bring to the table, and ensure that the new rules encourage the use of biomass. Author: Bob Cleaves President and CEO, Biomass Power Association





CHIP AND DUMP: At the New York Biomass Energy Alliance's National Bioenergy Day Willow Harvesting Demo in Ava, N.Y., a four-year-old willow biomass crop was chipped and dumped at Celtic Energy Farm.

Celebrating Bioenergy The inaugural National Bioenergy Day showcased the industry’s workings through demonstrations, presentations and tours. BY ANNA SIMET




ct. 17 went down in history as the first-ever National Bioenergy Day, which was celebrated by trade associations, schools and universities in 13 U.S. states and one Canadian province. On and around National Bioenergy Day, two dozen events were held to demonstrate the benefits of bioenergy, which includes biomass-to-electricity, thermal heat generated from wood, wood pellet manufacturing, and forestry. “In planning National Bioenergy Day, we wanted the focus to be on the role bioenergy plays in communities,” said Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association. “The goal was to bring audiences, ideally people who benefit from

SHOWCASING BIOMASS: Mt. Poso Cogeneration in Kern County, Calif., held a tour of its 44-MW facility in Kern County, Calif.



PUBLIC WELCOME: ReEnergy Holdings hosted open houses at its biomass-to-energy facilities in Lyons Falls, N.Y., and Livermore Falls, Maine.


SINGLE-PASS SYSTEM: A willow biomass crop at Celtic Energy Farm is processed with a New Holland forage harvester fitted with a coppice header. This system cuts and chips the willow biomass in a single pass.

PORTABLE POWER: Community Power Corp. completed a Southeast U.S. whistle-stop tour of its mobile biomass gasifier at the University of Georgia.


BIOENERGY 101: Minnesota Power held an educational presentation and tour of its Grand Rapids, Minn., power facility.



TALKING SHOP: Glenn Steele, director of Mississippi State University's Sustainable Energy Research Center (left), discusses the center's pilot-scale biomass-to-transportation fuel facility during a open house and tour.

bioenergy, to biomass facilities to witness firsthand what goes on.” Some of the day’s special events included a tour of ReEnergy Holding’s Livemore Falls, Maine, biomass power facility, a shrub willow biomass harvest demonstration near Boonville, N.Y., by biomass energy supplier Celtic Energy, a tour of biomass demonstration projects, including an energy cabin and greenhouse digester at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and a tour and biofuel demonstration at Mississippi State University’s Sustainable Energy Research Center. Near Bakersfield, Calif., Mt. Poso Cogeneration held a tour of its 40-MW biomass facility, and Minnesota Power held a tour and presentation at its Grand Rapids, Minn., cofired biomass power plant. The National Bioenergy Day initiative was sponsored by the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council, American Council on Renewable Energy, Pellet Fuels Institute, Forest Landowners Association, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, and Biomass Magazine. Author: Anna Siimet Editor, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4961





EMBARKING ON BIOMASS: Lockheed Martin’s flagship bioenergy project was at its own facility in Owego, N.Y.

Come, and They Will Build It Lockheed Martin’s army of engineers has expanded its expertise to bioenergy and biofuels. BY ANNA SIMET


ver 100 years ago, Glenn L. Martin founded the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Los Angeles and built his first plane in a rented church, with encouragement from Orville Wright. Just 100 miles away a few months later, Allan and Malcolm Lockheed founded the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Co., later known as Lockheed Aircraft Co., and set up shop out of a garage. There, they constructed speed and distance record-breaking seaplanes, and 20 years later would supply the aircraft Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic. It wasn’t until 1995 that the two companies joined forces becoming Lockheed Martin, resulting in the largest aerospace, defense and technology companies in the world, today employing 116,000 people. From F-16 multirole fighter aircrafts and high-mobility artillery rocket systems to multimission combat ships and defense satellite communications systems, the top contractor for the U.S. government has a


dominant and continually expanding role in national security. Right alongside Lockheed Martin’s extensive list of established technologies are those now emerging, and bioenergy has made the cut as a strong area of focus.

Building Out Bioenergy

Paul Klammer, program director for the bioenergy department at Lockheed Martin, says the company officially developed its program about seven years ago, which stemmed from the idea of utilizing biomass to power one of its own facilities. Heating the company’s 1.8 million-square-foot

Gary Bennett

Paul Klammer

location in Owego, N.Y., with waste wood saves the company about $1 million in fuel costs annually. “That was the start of it,” Klammer says. “We knew we could take what we do really well at Lockheed, which is delivering technology projects, and apply our core skill sets to this area. It really aligned well with our corporate strategies focused on security, as energy is clearly a security issue.” And of course, biomass’s base load quality offers such desired security, and that’s something the U.S. Department of Defense, one of Lockheed’s most common customers, likes. “Federal customers like the DOD are very concerned with energy security for a 24/7 basis, and bioenergy fits that mold quite well, whether it’s a wood chips or a different feedstock like municipal solid waste,” says Gary Bennett, business development manager for bioenergy. Besides its own facility, some of Lockheed’s projects on file include a share of a $15 million contract to install a wood-fired



TASTE FOR WASTE: Lockheed Martin and Concord Blue USA Inc. recently announced plans to offer an advanced waste conversion system to address waste disposal, energy security and climate control issues.

cogeneration system at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Canandaigua, N.Y., and building a portable prototype system that converts garbage into fuel for the Defense Logistics Agency. Most recently, the company won an R&D contract from the Army to perform research in the area of producing a higherquality syngas, and has also teamed up with Concord Blue USA Inc. , as a manufacturing and EPC partner, to deploy a waste gasification technology that converts waste

products to electricity, heat and synthetic fuels. The partnership will aim to expand deployment of Concord Blue’s patented, closed-loop steam thermolysis technology globally, including in North American and the U.S. “It’s really a good partnership from that perspective,” says Klammer. “[Concord Blue] needed a global commercialization partner, somebody who had the reputation for delivering on technology projects, so it was a really natural fit from that perspective. They brought the core technology to

the table, and we brought all of the integration and business development skills to help them scale and deploy on a global scale.” Additionally, Lockheed Martin is working with multiple teams on some Army initiatives through the recently awarded Multiple Award Task Order Contract. Long term, Klammer says its likely Lockheed Martin will explore biofuel technology opportunities, especially since the U.S. government is the largest user of fuel in the world. Referring to customer feedback as a cornerstone of Lockheed Martin’s business model, Klammer says the innovation the company has been able to put forth wouldn’t be possible without its massive engineering base. “One of the best values we bring to customers is our engineering expertise—we have over 75,000 in the corporation,” he says. “We may experience a particular problem that requires an expert in a specific technology area, and we can go inside the corporation and find that person whose work revolves around that one area. We constantly have problems that require subject matter expertise, and we have that necessary engineering breadth and depth within in our company.” Author: Anna Siimet Editor, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4961


PelletNews Maine pellet project awarded loan guarantee

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) board has approved a $25 million loan guarantee to support a proposed torrefied wood pellet project in Millinocket, Maine. The project is under development by Thermogen Industries, an entity of Cate Street Capital. Thermogen spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said the guarantee is the last piece of the funding puzzle needed MOVING FORWARD: Thermogen Expects to break ground to move the project forward. its Millinocket plant soon. The proposed facility is shown here He added that the approval in a rendering. is subject to a 30-day public construction beginning as soon as possible comment period, which was scheduled to thereafter. The plant, which will utilize a wrap up in mid-November. The project is unique microwave torrefaction technology also funded by a $26 million private equity investment and $19 million in financing from developed by Scotland-based Rotawave, will initially have a production capacity of the New Market Tax Credit Program. 100,000 tons per year, eventually expanding According to Tranchemontagne, to 0.5 million tons. Thermogen expects to close on all funding sources before the end of the year, with




Event focuses on export potential, sustainability The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association’s 3rd Annual Exporting Pellets Conference opened Oct. 28 with a blend of optimism and measured pragmatism. The event offered a venue for those in the North American pellet industry to discuss a variety of topics pertinent to their expanding industry, including increasing demand, sustainability requirements and growing pains. More than 500 attendees registered for the event, which was held in Miami. John Bingham, an agricultural economist from U.K.-based Hawkins Wright, noted that wood pellet demand grew at an average annual rate of 23 percent from 2000 through 2013, with demand currently reaching 10 million metric tons per year. Moving forward, Bingham said he sees a market opportunity for nearly 27 million tons of consumption worldwide by 2020, with nearly 20 million of that volume going to Europe.


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Government Help and Hindrance BY BILL BELL

Maine Energy Systems owner Les Otten was recently seen on television with a huge smile on his face. Was he enjoying the success of his investment? Yes, but of a former investment. In 2002, Otten was part of the ownership group that purchased the Boston Red Sox, who, two years later, won their first World Championship since 1918. While no longer an owner, he has remained close to the club and was on hand to celebrate their third World Series victory in the past 10 years. And the pellet fuel business in Maine? Still growing rapidly, thanks to the inherently great value of pellet heat. But it could be expanding even more rapidly, were it not for the ability of competing forces to tilt governmental actions in their favor. The foremost such force: inertia. As a case in point, in mid-September, Maine’s state energy agency Efficiency Maine rolled out its new, $7 million program, courtesy of Maine’s legislature and governor. It is designed to reduce Mainers’ heating costs via insulation and by installing new heating units, from heat pumps to geothermal wells. The program made $250,000 available in $5,000 rebates to homeowners installing high-quality pellet boilers. The 50 available slots were spoken for in 48 hours, and our folks now feel that we have demonstrated beyond doubt the public demand for our new technology. However, one trustee of Efficiency Maine quickly responded that this response showed that the demand is so great that incentives for pellet boilers are not necessary. Efficiency Maine’s CEO fell on the defensive from our overwhelming success, and warned that our industry—and consumers—should not be expecting another round of incentives, adding that there would not be a waiting list for potential customers hoping for any cancellations among the original fortunate 50. Another case in point: The Efficiency Maine rebate program also provides a $250 rebate incentive for purchasers of U.S. EPA-approved pellet stoves. However, in order to qualify, the pellet stove must be installed by a person holding a solid fuels license, a requirement virtually unheard of in the stove world. Stove retailers are asking that Efficiency Maine

replace this requirement with the widely acceptant standard of NFI (National Fireplace Institute) certification. One more case in point: Following up on legislation passed several years ago at the behest of the American Lung Association in Maine, our Department of Environmental Protection is finalizing rules for a wood stove swap-in program, whereby owners of pre-1988, high-emissions woodstoves used as the primary heating source can get a $450 credit toward a new, U.S. EPA-certified cordwood or pellet stove. If you’re in the Low Income Heating Program, you can get $750. The rules are being written, but there is at present no funding for the program. And finally, four years ago, as pellet heat was gaining a toehold of acceptance, Maine’s forwardlooking commissioner of professional regulation persuaded legislators to substantially revise the makeup of the regulatory board governing fuels and heating, so that the oil heating industry no longer would dominate. However, the new Maine Fuel Board has been moving with the deliberate speed of cold oil. At the urging of the commissioner, one year ago the board agreed to a year-long pilot program of somewhat more flexible installation standards for pellet boilers, and was also directed by law to update outmoded requirements regarding chimneys and solid fuel devices. Since then, the board has dropped the ball on making the latter changes, and, quite recently, refused to extend the pilot program. Our industry’s best bet up here remains the simple thrust of promoting our state’s locally produced fuel, which costs half the price of oil. “Heat Local” will be the theme of the upcoming Northeast Biomass Heating Expo 2014 in Portland. In the meantime, government giveth encouragement to our industry, but also sometimes taketh away. Author: Bill Bell Executive Director, Maine Pellet Fuels Association 207-752-1392





MASTER MATERIAL MOVER: At the end of June, Drax unveiled the United Kingdom’s first purpose-built biomass rail freight wagon at the National Railway Museum in York, England.

Reinventing the Rail Car A three-party collaboration yields the world’s first biomass rail wagon. BY TIM PORTZ


onverting the United Kingdom’s largest power generation station to the world’s largest biomass power facility is driving transformation all along the supply chain that feeds it. Each of the three boilers that U.K.-based Drax is converting from coal inputs to biomass will consume nearly 2.5 million tons each year. These volumes will originate predominantly in North America, with the final leg of the journey being a short rail ride from the U.K.’s network of ports to the Drax power station. In the earliest phases of this stepped transformation, Drax modified a number of its fleet service cars to deliver the facility’s first shipments of biomass. Coal is much denser than biomass, however, so filling rail cars designed to carry coal with biomass was too inefficient to tolerate as a long-term solution. Recognizing this, Drax turned to Lloyd’s Register Rail U.K. to design the world’s first purpose-built biomass rail wagon.


“This was to be an industry-leading wagon and even NASA wouldn’t be able to design a better one,” says Graham Backhouse, head of supply chain and logistics at Drax. The challenge was to design a rail car capable of hauling significantly greater volumes of material in each car, thereby maximizing the efficiency of each train load of biomass that rolls out of Britain’s ports. The design team at Lloyd’s had to find room for not only additional volumes of material, but also for the wagon’s brake equipment, control equipment and pipework. The design that emerged was a nearly 19-meter-long (62.3 foot)rail car with a 116-cubic-meter (256 square foot) capacity. Keeping the biomass dry are two pneumatically driven doors for each car, and a patented flow control discharge system guarantees that pellets end up only where operators want them. While rail car design grew out of collaborations between Drax and Lloyd’s Register, fabrication of the wagons was entrusted to



BIOMASS BOLSTERERS: Nigel Adams, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Biomass, and Peter Emery, Drax’s production director, stand in front of a biomass rail freight wagon at its unveiling at the National Railway Museum in York, England, in June.

WH Davis, the last independent British manufacturer of rail wagons. “The Drax wagon is effectively a super-sized hopper, in that the cubic capacity is larger than anything that is currently operating in the U.K. network,” says Ian Whelpton, sales and marketing director, WH Davis. The fabricators at WH Davis begin by building a collection of subassemblies that are fused to the body of the wagon in the company’s main production hall. The wagon body and subassemblies are all installed with the aid of a large rotator that spins the rail

car on an axis, allowing workers to move methodically around the car performing the welds that connect components to the finished freight wagon. The first rail car was unveiled at the National Railway Museum in York, in late June. “The finished product is an industry-leading design and fulfills all the criteria we set,” says Peter Emery, production director at Drax. We may be launching it in a museum but this wagon is no museum piece and will not be surpassed for many years to come.” Drax’s investment in 200 purpose-built wagons is just one component of investment the company and its partners are making all along the pellet supply chain. This investment reaches back through U.K.-based ports into U.S. port infrastructure, on through to production facilities, and ultimately, into the forests themselves. While Drax is not alone amongst power producers in the U.K. pursuing a transformation to increase biomass utilization, it is the first. With that distinction comes the burden of transforming not only its generation assets, but also the infrastructure that will ultimately deliver the low-carbon biomass fuels required, one rail wagon at a time. Author: Tim Portz Executive Editor, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4969


ThermalNews Vermont university fires up 2 wood chip boilers Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., recently celebrated the opening of a $6.2 million biomass heating plant. The system is expected to produce 97 percent of the campus’s annual steam requirements and offset the consumption of 657,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil on an annual basis. As a result, the biomassfired system is expected to reduce heating costs by more than $1 million per year. The plant features two wood chipfueled boilers, sourced from Michiganbased Messersmith Manufacturing Inc. The facility will combust approximately 13,000 tons of locally sourced wood chips annually. “Over 80 percent of the wood comes from a state or federally approved forest management program with a balance coming from land that has been approved for clearing for agricultural or development purposes,” said Dave Magida, chief administrative officer at Norwich. “But all of the wood is harvested under Vermont’s Acceptable Management Practices program.”

BIG SAVINGS: Norwich University’s new biomass heating system is expected to reduce heating costs by more than $1 million per year.


Canadian program helps industry capitalize on bioenergy opportunities The National Research Council of Canada announced the launch of a new research program in October. The initiative, titled “Bioenergy Systems for Viable Stationary Applications,” aims to help industry make the most of market opportunities offered in the production of biomass energy. Specifically, the program will help Canadian companies capitalize on bioenergy opportunities associated with integrating locally sourced biomass into stationary heat and power systems by helping to overcome technical and cost barriers. The initiative aims to engage companies from all segments of the value chain, from feedstock suppliers to technology providers and utilities. Through collaboration, the goal is to develop and deploy integrated solutions for near-term stationary markets, focusing on regions where bioenergy is cost-competitive, such as remote communities that currently rely on diesel. Urban communities are also being targeted for the production of energy from municipal solid waste.




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A SIZE FOR ALL: Morbark offers a full line of whole tree chippers and high-speed wood grinders ranging from 250 to 1,200 horsepower.



Chipping Away at Innovation Biomass equipment manufacturers are striving to provide top-of-the-line feedstock-sizing equipment. BY KEITH LORIA



estimated cost to change must be determined, raising the question: if your machine price changes, will the customer still purchase the machine? Listening to customers and tweaking equipment to make improvements from previous models is a must for a company’s success. Communication is key. Constant dialogue between the customer and a company’s sales, engineering and after sales service teams ensures that everyone is heading toward the same goal. Inspired by customer feedback and demand, several companies made upgrades to their products this year.



ALWAYS IMPROVING: Morbark's 1600 Tub Grinder can be tuned to cater to customer specs.


roviding customers with the latest and greatest technology is a smart move for any company. All feedstock suppliers have different challenges and requirements, and as their needs change, the equipment manufactur-

ers are usually quick to respond. It all begins by identifying an opportunity to improve and exploring the market to determine whether an enhancement is desired by customers. Once potential operational improvements are identified, an

A trendy term in the forestry industry is microchip. The actual size of a microchip is generally a half-inch or less, and in many cases, it is referred to as a three-eighthinch-minus chip. These chips can be produced in the woods with nonmerchantable timber or logging residual that was previously used as fuel chips, or in some instances, left on logging landings. “The use of these chips will vary from a supplement raw material for a cofiring application such as coal-burning boilers, or the most common application of pellet manufactur-

FSE Energy ensures the success of our woldwide customer base through the delivery of the highest quality heat and energy equipment solutions. Product details at 24 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2013


ing,” says Larry Voelker, Morbark’s director of engineering. “The increased demand worldwide for pellets combined with the plentiful wood basket the southeast U.S. provides has been an industry driver.” Being able to produce the microchip has allowed chip producers another market to obtain and also maximize their return when performing a logging job. Morbark’s most common chipper for this application is the Model 40/36 Drum Chipper. This machine is capable of producing 65 percent or better three-eighthinch acceptable chips and 95 percent halfinch acceptable chips at a rate of 70 tons per hour on a regular basis in an in-woods chipping application. Michael Stanton, Morbark’s industrial products regional sales manager for the Southeast, says that Morbark offers a full line of whole tree chippers and high-speed wood grinders ranging from 250 horsepower (hp) to 1,200 hp in both diesel and electric powered. The whole tree chipper line consists of multiple different-sized drum and disc options. The high-speed grinder product line includes tub grinders and horizontal grinders also referred to as Wood Hogs. “The biomass users and produc-

ers have a chip spec that they must meet for their boiler systems. This can come in form of a set chip size or a maximum size in length shred when it pertains to wood grindings,” Stanton says. “Morbark’s broad product line allows the ability to cater to the customer’s requirements.” When upgrades need to be made, Voelker says that the company has a continuous improvement philosophy and tries to capitalize on any opportunity for improvement that comes along. “We are constantly looking for input from customers, dealers, salespeople and anything that can help us meet these goals,” he says. “We’ve made substantial changes to our larger machines with very good chip quality.”

Continental Biomass Industries

One piece of equipment that Continental Biomass Industries is getting a lot of user feedback for is its 5800 Magnum Force Grinder, a machine that has a size, weight and permit requirements that are causing some concern. “A lot of projects are smaller in nature, in and out more frequently, so transport of the machine has become a very big issue,” says Jeff Moulton, engineering manager at CBI. “They want to end up with a machine that’s a little more

accommodating, so we ended up building a 765 horsepower Cat Engine horizontal grinder that weighed 60,000 pounds and fell below an 8.6-foot width. It’s a more nimble machine to load and move and maintains the durability and pretty significant production level.” Because there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, CBI looks at each customer and what they are trying to do in determining the best machine for each application. “A machine like the CBI ChipMax 484 can be set up as a two-pocket chipper or a four-pocket chipper and comes with various different configurations for discharge,” Moulton says. “We can either top load or end load the trailer. It’s a question of looking at what the customer is trying to do and rather than saying ‘we have a, b and c, pick one,’ we almost customize a machine for their needs.” Aaron Benway, regional sales manager at CBI, says the company is always looking to make improvements from previous models, whether it be in increasing the overall durability, serviceability or efficiencies of the machines. Feedback from multiple customers and different niche parts of the overall industry lend a hand in deciding when to make a change.


CATERING TO CUSTOMERS: Basing the changes on customer feedback, CBI's 5800 Magnum Force Grinder is easier to load and move.

“A lot of requests are related to maintenance and accessibility. Everybody is working on tight margins, so whatever we can do, we strive very hard to make improvements in those areas,” he says. “When customers have requests, we will discuss



internally with our sales and engineering and get some costs together to see if it’s something we can offer as an optional addition or a change we want to make going forward.” Jay Van Roekel, biomass business

manager for Vermeer Corp., says the company recently introduced a Chip Drum for its HG6000 model, which allows the grinder to produce a consistent-sized chip necessary for many applications, including biofuel chip production. Vermeer continues to launch new Tier 4 final engine packages, has a new Bioscreen Kit for HG6000 and TG5000 models and telematics packages now available for grinders. For chippers, it has improved its products with additional engine options to meet customer needs for various hp sizes and types of fuel used.“Our chippers now have EcoIdle, an engine control system that automatically idles the engine horsepower down after 30 seconds of inactivity to maximize fuel economy. Saving fuel to make fuel, this machine was built for the biomass industry,” Van Roekel says. Vermeer has been focusing on various key market segments and has staff mem-

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bers engaging the customers in those specific markets, including biomass, tree care and forestry, using the same models in different applications. “This focus allows us to understand our customers' needs and business models so we can then develop our product line to enhance the customer experience with Vermeer products,” Van Roekel says. “Different users have different feedstock specifications, but no matter where in the world they are located, the conversion process seems to dictate the general specification.” Harvesting method, weather, equipment adjustments, support equipment, storage and transport methods all play a role in material quality. Talking through all these variables is crucial for a successful project. Vermeer’s bioscreen kit for its HG and TG grinder models is a good example—grinding baled material with variable moisture content has challenged

traditional wood screens by blinding off as moisture content increased, but the bioscreen kit keeps the grinder productive in all moisture levels while maintaining sizing control. “I find most biomass end users are not experienced in the harvest and processing systems. Vermeer’s experience with agricultural residues and energy crops, as well as woody material processing, helps us explain the feedstock impact throughout the supply chain,” Van Roekel says. “We also see customers evolving their specifications and even the variety of material they want to use. This makes it extremely important to discuss not only today’s feedstock used, but also possible changes in feedstock or specification so we can select the right equipment for the job today and tomorrow.”


Vecoplan’s New Generation, or New

Gen, of single-shaft rotary grinders incorporates many new features and benefits, many of which greatly improve maintenance and efficiency. Features including direct drives, double sidewalls, outboard bearings, swing-out screens and externally adjustable reversible counter-knives all greatly reduce the amount of time spent on routine maintenance. “The HiTorc drive is one of the most beneficial features available on Vecoplan’s range of single and dual shaft rotary grinders,” says Yuri Chocholko, Vecoplan, LLC’s sales manager, wood, biomass and biofuels. “The HiTorc magnetic pulse drive allows the customer to change the speed of the grinding rotor at the touch of a button while the machine is running—anywhere from 30 to 300 rpm,” says Yuri Chocholko. “By changing the speed of the rotor, this unique technology allows the customer to increase or decrease the throughput of

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QUICK TO ACT: Bruks Klöckner supplied chipping equipment to the ERTA pellet plant in Spain. Due to its small size, this branch of The Brucks Group is able to quickly react to customer needs for updated equipment designs.


TORQUE TALK: Vecoplan’s patented HiTorc drive is available for the VAZ 1300, which permits variable speed adjustment and reduces power consumption up to 60 percent compared to the standard drive system.

material through the machine, change the particle size coming from it and reduce the energy consumed.” Best of all, this can all be done while the machine is running to suit the customer’s feedstock. The drive contains no belts, pulleys, fluid couplings or gearboxes, which means very little maintenance and the highest possible transfer of power and torque to the grinding process. Energy savings are maximized far beyond what traditional VFD drives can offer. For example, a 100 hp drive at 150 rpm will consume the same amount of energy as a typical hairdryer when idling. “Customers typically call us when their original equipment can no longer keep up following a change in the amount of material they are handling, or increasingly, when the feedstock itself changes,” Chocholko says. “The equipment configuration used for grinding woodchips will not be the same as that used for grinding miscanthus. As prices fluctuate for the feedstock, both raw and processed, and the changing seasons make available different crops for processing, the equipment that was designed for last year may not be












Markus Schwarz of Bruks Klöckner, Bruks Rockwood’s Germany office, where the company’s chipping equipment is manufactured, says its latest offerings are for the biopower and biofuel market. “In the biopower market, we are offering chipping lines to chip logs for the production of heat and power. In the biofuel market, we are quoting combinations of chipping and



Bruks Rockwood

rechipping lines for the pellet production,” he says. “For industrial pellets, there are several projects in the U.S. and Europe.” Bruks Rockwoods’ focus has been to get equipment downtime as low as possible. To accomplish that, it has split the screens of its chippers in order to get a lower weight for an easy and quick change. On larger chippers, it has added an option to open the screen cradle hydraulically. Furthermore, it has simplified some features in order to reduce the number of parts and therefore increase liability. Because Bruks Klöckner is a relatively small company with 75 employees, the sales department, general manager and the design department stay in close contact,” Schwarz says, "so if there is a need to change or update a design due to the market requirements, we can react very


what you are asking of it this year.” Many hammermills and chippers are designed to go full speed ahead at all times, but the Vecoplan design permits a change in screen size, cutting speed, cutter design, available torque and the amount of material one can process. “Since many of these projects are in a trial, pilot or startup stage, a lot of the feedback we get is actually the unknown. Customers may not know the moisture content, bulk density or raw material size—it is perhaps too early in the project or these levels fluctuate—so we are presented with a wide range of possibilities to work around,” Chocholko says. “These factors must all be considered when correctly sizing any piece of size reduction equipment, but the customer simply does not know, so they look to us to provide them with our experiences in the field.” Chocholko says, the outboard bearings, double sidewalls and direct drive features of the New Gen range of grinders all came about from customer feedback as to what would make for a better machine.“We studied the comments given to us by customers over the years on the design of the previous generation of machines, and also looked at our most commonly sold nonwear items in our spare parts inventory,” he says. “We picked a number of design changes that we could implement, without negatively impacting the machine’s performance or drastically increasing the price of the machine. The resulting performance in the field, as well as the reaction to the changes by our customers, has been phenomenal.”

quickly.” For example, the company had a client in Germany producing charcoal that requested a chip length of 200mm. “In this case, we were able to design a new rotor for the chipper, which was able to produce such a big chip length,” Schwarz says. “After we had designed the rotor, we produced a test rotor and made a trial in our laboratory before we produced a new machine.” While Morbark, Continental Biomass Industries, Vermeer, Vecoplan and Bruks Klöckner are at the leading edge of biomass equipment innovation, they are only a few of the many companies working every day to listen to and meet the demand of the always-evolving bioenergy industry. Author: Keith Loria Freelance Writer, Biomass Magazine

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BiogasNews Clean Energy to roll out biomethane fuel

WM breaks ground on landfill gas plant No. 3

Light duty CNG vehicle offerings No. of models (dedicated and bi-fuel)


















Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has announced it will commercially distribute its signature biomethane fuel, Redeem, at 35 fueling stations in California. The California Air Resources Board has estimated biogas could yield a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions, when compared to gasoline or diesel. Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy Fuels, said the company’s goal is to produce and distribute 15 million gallons of Redeem in the first year, assisting California in meeting its climate change goals and proving the fuel is a viable alternative fuel source. Harrison Clay, president of the company’s renewable fuels division, said

Clean Energy Fuels will focus on California as its initial market, before rolling out its biogas in other states. “I don’t know if we have a state that’s the next big target,� said Clay. “We’ll go where the demand for natural gas fuel is the highest. I know we opened our LNG truck stop stations in Texas, so that might be a good market for us.� The biomethane is produced from extracting methane gas from Clean Energy’s landfills and other waste streams, cleaned and processed by a production facility and deposited into the interstate natural gas pipeline. It is available as compressed or liquefied natural gas forms.


Waste Management has broken ground in a renewable natural gas plant at the Miliam Landfill in Fairmont City, Ill. The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility will become Waste Management’s third plant to convert landfill gas to natural gas, joining a 13,000-gallon-per-day facility in California and one in Ohio, which processes about 3,000 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) of landfill gas and delivers it to a natural gas pipeline. In Fairmont City, processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the pipelines of Ameren Illinois for withdrawal at other locations and used to fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas. The facility is designed to process approximately 3,500 SCFM of incoming landfill gas, or about 105 million Btu per hour. The site will bring the total number of Waste Management landfills using landfill gas to generate electricity, produce renewable gas, or displace fossil fuel to 134.






Biogas a CHP Opportunity BY AMANDA BILEK

In previous columns, I have focused on the use of biogas as a transportation fuel, which holds enormous, untapped potential. However, my introduction to biogas energy systems was through projects that use biogas to produce electricity and then capture thermal energy from the generator for a useful purpose. This process is better known as combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration. Biogas is truly a remarkable form of renewable energy. One of the most attractive attributes of biogas is its versatility as a low-carbon energy resource. It can be burned to produce power and heat, used directly for heat, cleaned to a form that is equivalent to conventional natural gas or compressed and used as fuel for transport. Beyond its versatility, biogas can be produced from a variety of organic feedstocks, which provides a wide array of positive environmental benefits. Biogas has something for everyone to be excited about. Over the past several months, I have attended several meetings and have had many discussions about how to increase the adoption of CHP systems in the U.S., specifically in the Midwest. The resurgence of interest in CHP was precipitated, in part, by the Obama administration’s August 2012 Executive Order on Industrial Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power, which sets a goal of adding 40 gigawatts of new CHP by 2020. This would raise the CHP capacity in the U.S. by 50 percent and would require more new CHP to be installed each year than has ever previously been installed in a single year. Meeting this goal is going to be a challenge, and biogas has the potential to meet a portion of this ambitious goal. Already, the overwhelming majority of agriculturalbased biogas energy systems produce CHP. Agricultural producers, wastewater treatment plant managers and landfill gas operators have been early adopters of CHP systems. Even biogas projects, which have a primary energy output of biomethane (cleaned form of biogas), integrate CHP as a way to

produce power to run clean-up and compression equipment. Projects that are using multiple technologies and components to produce different forms of energy with biogas as their base input are considered closed-loop energy systems and are dramatically reducing the overall project carbon footprint. Increased focus on CHP deployment across several sectors—industrial, commercial and agricultural—is also leading to technology improvements from equipment manufacturers and project developers. Just like anaerobic digestion is a well-established biological process, the development of CHP system equipment is also well-established. But similar to many other industries, equipment manufacturers are always improving technology to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Off-the-shelf CHP technology packages, across a wide spectrum of generation output, are currently available and this helps to bolster streamlined deployment. However, the largest barrier of upfront capital costs with an extended return on investment still remains. States all across the U.S. are developing policy programs and incentives to overcome this barrier. As an early adopter and implementer of CHP systems, the biogas sector stands to benefit from the increased focus on CHP deployment. There is huge, untapped potential for biogas production from a variety of organic streams. Once we are able to take advantage of this potential, biogas can be used to meet a variety of energy needs. The time and attention currently devoted to increased CHP deployment is a valuable strategy for harnessing the untapped biogas potential in the U.S. Author: Amanda Bilek Energy Policy Specialist, Great Plains Institute. 612-278-7119








Biogas Product Prospectus

The global biogas equipment market is expected to boom over the next several years.






he potential of biogas is seemingly endless due to a number of factors, especially its versatility. According to BBC Research, the global market for biogas plant equipment was worth $3 billion in 2010 and is estimated to reach nearly $8.6 billion by 2016, a growth rate of nearly 20 percent. The North American market for biogas production equipment was valued at $510 million in 2011 and is forecast to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2016. Such robust market growth means construction of many more plants—Research and Market analysts project worldwide installed capacity will increase by about 60 percent in only five years, with the number of plants increasing from 9,700 to 13,500 plants. A developer may generate onsite electricity with its biogas, send power to the grid, clean and inject it into a pipeline, or compress it into transportation fuel. Whatever the choice, equipment manufacturers are readying themselves to meet fast-growing demand. The products listed below are a mix of innovative equipment with relevance to one or more of each respective biogas use.

SUMA HD’s High-Efficiency Propeller provides up to 30 percent more thrust and better mixing.

SUMA High-Efficiency Propeller

A well-designed propeller in a digester insures optimal results and maximum biogas generation. Initial CFD (computational fluid dynamics) studies by SUMA showed that older propeller blade designs created energy-wasting turbulence. By means of investigational CFD studies followed by testing in SUMA’s full scale test tank, the HD+ propeller design was developed. With the same diameter and running at the same speed as older, competitive designs, the propeller can provide up to 30 percent more thrust and better mixing. Conversely, the same mixing can be achieved with lower parasitic power.

Unison Solutions BioCNG

The pilot program for BioCNG began in January 2011 at the Rodefeld-Dane County landfill in Wisconsin, and the first customer’s unit started up in March of 2012 at the St. Landry Solid Waste facility


Unison Solutions’ BioCNG converts biogas to a gaseous vehicle fuel, for use in compressed natural gas vehicles.

in Louisiana. BioCNG is a patent-pending system that converts biogas to a gaseous vehicle fuel, for use in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. BioCNG allows smaller quantities of biogas to be conditioned to CNG quality for vehicle use. As little as 50 scfm (standard cubic feet per minute) of biogas can be utilized by this system to produce 200 to 275 gasoline gallon equivalent per day of vehicle fuel for CNG fleets.

Vogelsang EnergyJet

Increasing gas production in anaerobic digesters is one of the industry's keys to success, and by using energy crops it can be the easiest and best method to increases gas. EnergyJet is an efficient, single-step solution that uninterruptedly feeds the digester with well-mashed homogeneous renewable solids such as corn silage, grass silage, whole plant silage and dung. Its large,

BIOGAS¦ free passage makes it resistant to foreign objects, and its solid construction makes it resistant even to abrasive materials. EnergyJet provides the only dry to fully homogeneous mixing system on the market that can handle energy crops with ease, and with an integrated cutting system. It makes using screw conveyors, mixing pits, and tanks a thing of the past with its ability to mix and feed the digester in a single step. Systems can be automated for 24-hour feeding or manual feeding, depending on the customer’s specific needs. EnergyJet combines the advantages of both dry and liquid solid matter feeding into a single machine.

Caterpillar G3520C Biogas Gen Set

The first commercial shipment of the next generation G3520C biogas generator set rated at 2000 electric kilowatts (ekW) happened in October 2013 via Cat dealer Carolina Cat to owner Enerdyne Power Systems. This Cat G3520C biogas generator set converts biogas fuel into useful electricity and heat. The electricity can be exported to the local electric utility as a qualified renewable resource or consumed locally. Caterpillar has launched an engineering update to the Cat G3520C biogas-fueled generator set for operation at 60Hz—primarily in North and South America—that increases power output from 1600 to 2000 ekW via new controls, gear train, base frame and

Vogelsang’s EnergyJet combines the advantages of both dry and liquid solid matter feeding into a single machine.

cooling system design. Over the past seven years, the model G3520C gas generator set has become a popular selection for landfill, wastewater, and agricultural biogas applications across the globe. Until now, the G3520C was limited in biogas applications to engine speeds of 1200 rpm. By increasing engine speeds to 1,500 rpm, and updating the cooling system, baseframe and controls, Caterpillar was able to increase power output by 25 percent with a nominal change in footprint while maintaining the same owning and operating costs.

Primary Flow Signal Digester, Bio-Gas (HVT-DG) flow metering system

The HVT-DG flow metering system is a customizable, insertable Venturi meter engineered to deliver accurate and reliable measurement of low or irregular pressure, and dirty, wet gas environments. This meter is suitable for measuring any type of gas, including digester gas generated in municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the normal processing of sewage, and a wide variety of biogas applications. The HVT-DG meter is available in a standard configuration, as well as special configurations designed for any






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Caterpillar has updated its Cat G3520C biogas-fueled generator set for operation at 60Hz, increasing power output from 1,600 to 2,000 ekW.

line size and for the specific conditions of each application. The HVT-DG maintains accuracy of plus or minus 0.25 percent of actual reading or better based on hydraulic calibration, and can handle temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the appropriate selection of materials. Monitoring and reusing digester gases can help lower greenhouse gas emissions and ensure compliance of federal and state regulations. Differential-type meters such as the Venturi can be field calibrated

and are traceable and verifiable. Although most Venturi meters can monitor digester gas, the HVT-DG features a tap cleanout rod for both the high- and low-pressure sensing points that allows for removal of particles from the meter, offering a simple solution to ensure debris does not impact flow measurement.

Geoamps’ altAMPS

AltAMPS centralizes project information in an online database where information is collaborative across the entire organization. Data from projects can be accessed and worked with on computers, tablets and smart phones. AltAMPS provides end-toend management of projects in biogas and other alternative energy projects, bringing information on planning, acquisition, construction, operations and maintenance together in one easy-to-use and secure platform. By using altAMPS, companies can Geoamps’ altAMPS allows users to access and work on project realize cost savings of up data from computers, tablets and smart phones. to 35 percent through proj-


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to 40 percent total solids without dilution. The system generates a maximum amount of biogas within a minimum footprint. The HSAD is a fully automated, continuously operating system minimizing manual handling and pretreatment/dilution to process feedstocks. Additionally, the system has a low parasitic load leading to improved net energy production. The system’s agitator shaft further differentiates the Eisenmann system because the critical components are external to the digester vessel, allowing for easy monitoring and maintenance leading to increased uptime. The agitator has been optimized to improve the mixing and eliminate potential dead zones or layers to maximize the decomposition of organic materials within the horizontal vessel.

Eisenmann’s Horizontal Continuous High-Solids Anaerobic Digester

Disclaimer: The products listed in this article were printed on a first-come, first-served basis and do not represent claims or views of Biomass Magazine.

The Eisenmann Horizontal Continuous High-Solids Anaerobic Digester is designed to optimally digest feedstocks with high total solids content so the majority of material is processed as is. It features a robust design capable of digesting a wide variety of organic material at different temperature ranges and hydraulic retention times. The HSAD can digest organic materials up

Me a s uring r 10 m icron ange from s to 1 25 m m RETSCH offers the widest range of sieving equipment worldwide covering a size range from 10 µm to 125 mm

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ect efficiencies. The purpose of altAMPS is to create an environmentally friendly and highly efficient tool for the operation and maintenance of alternative energy projects, allowing information to flow easily through the entire organization. Data within the altAMPS system can be used for automated processes including calculations, workflows and checklists such as ongoing payments and maintenance among many other activities. All project information, documents, pictures, and measurements are securely stored in a single, Web-based, collaborative database with role-based security in a real-time environment. AltAMPS offers a more efficient alternative for companies in the biogas arena that are still reliant upon spreadsheets, email and paper records.

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Eisenmann’s Horizontal Continuous High-Solids Anaerobic Digester can digest organic materials up to 40 percent total solids without dilution.

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Author: Anna Simet Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4961


AdvancedBiofuelNews Global jet fuel consumption, demand 2008





Consumption (million gallons)






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Biojet initiatives continue globally UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced in October that Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced using Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Jet Fuel process powered the first commercial flight in Columbia operating on biobased jet fuel. A LAN Airbus A320 flew from Bogotá El Dorado International Airport to Santiago de Cali, Columbia using a 30/70 blend of biojet. The renewable aviation fuel was produced from camelina feedstock. Meanwhile, Boeing and South African Airways signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on developing a biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa. Boeing has also worked jointly with airlines, research institutions, govern-


ments and other stakeholders to develop road maps for biofuel supply chains in several countries and regions, including the United States, China, Australia and Brazil. The company’s plan to work with SAA is the first such project in Africa. Biojet initiatives are also progressing in the U.S. This fall, the Federal Aviation Administration announced the formation of a new center of excellence (COE) for alternative jet fuels and the environment. The COE, which includes 16 university partners and more than 50 industry and national laboratory partners, will be headquartered at Washington State University Tri-Cities, in Richland, Wash.

KiOR attracts funding from Khosla, Gates KiOR Inc.’s Columbus II project is one step closer to fruition. In October, the company announced $100 million in committed equity-related financing in two separate private placement transactions to support expansion plans at its Columbus, Miss. location. The first private placement includes $85 million of committed equity-related financing from Khosla Ventures III and various other Khosla entities. The second private placement includes $15 million of committed equity financing from new investor Gates Ventures LLC, an affiliate of Bill Gates. The Columbus II project, announced in late September, will double production at KiOR’s existing Columbus location through the construction of a second facility incorporating its technology. The $225 million project is scheduled to break ground within 90 days of KiOR raising sufficient equity and debt capital to commence the project. KiOR estimates the proposed facility will take 18 months to construct and start up. Once operational, the plant will convert southern yellow pine wood chips to cellulosic gasoline and diesel.


New Financing Option Within Reach BY MARY ROSENTHAL

For many years, renewable energy and fuels companies have been challenged to cross the so-called valley of death, the vast expanse between pilot or lab scale and funding for full-scale commercial production facilities. In October, I sat on a roundtable discussion at the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Algae Caucus, chaired by Reps. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., and Scott Peters, D-Calif., and heard broad support from lawmakers from across the country for allowing renewable energy companies to organize as MasterLimited Partnerships. Anyone familiar with MLPs knows that making this option a reality has been discussed for some time, but has not been a top priority for many in the renewable energy industries. That needs to change. Why? Because this is one policy goal that is achievable in today’s difficult political environment, and could open a flood of new financing for projects in biomass, biofuel, wind, solar and other clean technologies. Unlike other forms of incorporation, MLPs are taxed as partnerships, but have ownership interests that can be traded like corporate stock on a market. As a result, MLPs often enable easier assembling of the capital needed to get large projects off the ground. This advantage would be especially useful for propelling new clean technologies across the valley of death. Unfortunately, none of the capital that can be attracted by the MLP arrangement can support renewable energy today. That is because current regulations restrict MLPs almost exclusively to oil and gas projects. Biofuels, wind or solar projects are left out in the cold. There is no inherent reason for this deficiency; it seems to be nothing more than an accident of legislative history.

Fortunately, with so many worthy renewable energy technologies clamoring for capital, there is legislation to change the rules and enable renewable energy projects to qualify for MLPs. In the Senate, Sens. Chris Coons, D-Md., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., have proposed the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. In the House, there is HR 1696, the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, cosponsored by Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Mike Thompson, D-Calif. Both of these pieces of legislation are accruing broad support. Republicans and Democrats have signed on to the change. Financial institutions have voiced support because they see the rise in clean energy investment and would like the tools to bring more resources to bear. To move forward, these bills need more cosigners. Members of Congress need to hear words of support from their constituents. I urge you to pick up the phone if you have not done so already. The slow pace of gathering enthusiasm contradicts all the economic evidence. The advanced biofuels and biomass energy industries are looking to construct a new wave of projects. Clean technology is attracting nearly a quarter of global venture capital, and other sources of capital are clamoring for a way in. Resilient support at the state level foretells a steady increase in demand for renewable energy for some time to come. Clearly, the time to make this change is now. The Algae Biomass Organization is making an update to existing MLP regulations a priority, and we welcome any biomass industry players are ready to voice their support. Author: Mary Rosenthal Executive Director, Algae Biomass Organization 763-458-0068



FEEDING OFF FEEDBACK: The Stinger 6500, the newest version of Stinger Inc.’s bale stacker, is the product of customer feedback and engineering. PHOTO: STINGER INC.



Taking the Sting Out of

Harvest Inefficiencies have inspired the Matlack brothers to develop innovative biomass baling equipment. BY CHRIS HANSON




ike most inventions, Stinger Inc.’s technology was born out of necessity. The company was founded after Bill and Larry Matlack’s farming operation changed from grain production to alfalfa production in 1992, and during the conversion, the brothers discovered some of the inefficiencies of baling the new crop. “We go out at night and spent a few hours baling hay, and then it would take two guys all day long to try to gather those bales up and stack them,” says Larry Matlack, cofounder of Stinger. “So my brother and I started looking for an easier way to gather the bales.” Through their own research and feedback from other farmers, the brothers developed their first, self-propelled biomass baling system. The first units did not actually stack bales, Matlack explains. At that point, the units would solely pick the bales up, haul them to a site and slide them off, where they were stacked by a loader tractor. Creating a nonstacking unit was justified for a number of reasons, he says. One was that customers claimed that drivers with less mechanical dexterity were able to create a better stack with nonuniform bales using a loader tractor than with an automated stacking unit. Nonuniform bales, which can cause issues in automated stacking, are created from varying field conditions, different machinery and older equipment, Matlack says. From there, the next challenge was to make the equipment self-loading. “When we found a way to make it self-load, we built the first machine and showed it to other guys that were in the hay business,” Matlack says. “And they said, ‘you know if you build that strong enough and tough enough, we’d be interested in buying that because that’s a problem that we have.’” As time progressed, the Matlack brothers found their market niche after speaking with hundreds of U.S. farmers. Earlier, farmers were familiar with small, rectangular bales and the specialized stacking equipment from manufacturers, such as New Holland. Larger, rectangular bales, however, lacked the technology that small-

bale operations had. When larger farming operations were baling small-sized bales, there was specialized machinery that could pick and stack bales roughly as fast as the biomass was baled, Matlack says. “When they went to big, square bales, it had its advantages, but one of the disadvantages was having to go gather up those bales, and there’s no equipment to do it with. What equipment there was, was slower and smaller, so that’s kind of how we got into it,” he adds.

Stinger 6500

Roughly 95 to 98 percent of Stinger customers have a stacking unit, Matlack says. The Stinger 6500, the newest version of the stacker, is the product of customer feedback and engineering. The unit boasts a 305 horsepower engine, mounted in the middle of the machinery to allow for a more even weight distribution than early models. Fully loaded with either rectangular or round bales, the 6500s 1,120-squareinch tire footprint is less than 38 pounds per square inch, which allows for less soil compaction. One of the Matlack's customers, Jeff Roskam, CEO of Feedstox LLC, began using Stinger equipment in 2012 and currently utilizes the 6500 in his stacking operations. The machinery moves quickly on and off the field, which makes the equipment vital for custom harvesters, he says. “The thing will pick up 100 bales an hour. So, it can generally keep up with two of our square balers. We would match it two balers to one Stinger 6500, or if we run more shifts, we can actually support three balers with it.” Being able to handle roughly 100 bales each hour, he estimates the equipment to cover 30 to 50 acres of wheat straw and corn stover per hour. The 6500 also showcases new digital technology that assists in bale management operations. The equipment features digital controls that allow the machinery to automatically set up the loads and position the bed for accurate stacking, Roskam says. Additionally, Feedstox’s units implement a global positioning system for better



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STACK AND SECURE: Dual arms automatically tighten two large straps to secure biomass on the ALSS.

tracking of field passes and efficient bale pickup. “There are very few competitors to that machine, they’re pretty much one of a kind,” he says.

Load-Securing System

A second piece of biomass transportation technology developed by Stinger is the automatic load securing system (ALSS), designed to address time management when securing a load of bales for transportation.

Like the stacker models, the ALSS trailer is the product of observations and customer opinions within the biomass harvesting industry. “The amount of time it required to strap and secure a load of bales was very time-consuming,” Matlack says. “If you’re hauling it 500 miles, it’s no big deal to spend an hour loading and unloading at each end, because you’re going to spend 10 hours on the road. But when you’re going to move a product 15 to 40

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SMOOTH MOVE: An ALSS unit awaits another stack of biomass prior to transport.

miles, all of a sudden you’re spending more time to secure the load than you are moving the load. The costs are nearly identical during those time frames.” In addition to speed, the ALSS was


developed for greater safety in transporting biomass from the field to the biofuel plant. “Every year there are people who are injured and killed by large, rectangular bales falling off of trailers and stacks tipping

over,” Matlack explains. “We knew when these large-volume, cellulosic projects started up that this was going to be a genuine concern from a safety and cost standpoint that needed improvement. “

ADVANCED BIOFUEL¦ Inspiration for the ALSS came not only from the Midwest, but also from western states, such as California, Oregon and Washington. Customers in the western states were using mechanical vices to secure twice as many hay bales, and others were loading bales crossways on a trailer. “That made a lot of sense from a safety standpoint,” Matlack says. He adds that method would have required a lot more straps to secure the load and would not be practical for short-distance hauls. The issue became that there was a need for a method to secure a load without requiring the operator to throw, secure or remove a strap that might put him at risk and to increase the speed of the process to reduce costs, he says. “Over the last four or five years we have developed the ALSS system to do exactly that.” The ALSS system works by laying square bales crossways on the trailer, and after the trailer is loaded, its two mechanical arms extend out and up from each side and rises over the load. Next the arms shorten, tightening the large straps and securing the biomass to the trailer. The entire ALSS securing process takes less than a minute, whereas traditional methods range from 15 to 30 minutes. With a more efficient loading and securing process, it is projected to cost $10.41 per ton to move 600,000 bales twice, from the field to storage and storage to the plant.

to work and perform within that environment.” Other features to the new 8500 model include the ability to stack and retrieve biomass bales, a new front end to pick up bales in line, improving stacking speed to 180 to 200 bales per hour and less compaction from the front end tires. “Larry Matlack has made it his business to focus on the biomass industry,” Roskam says. “The point is that they have in-field experience making bales and handling bales.

He and the people who are involved actually do the work in the field as operators. They know the fine points on what it takes to make good equipment and a successful biomass harvesting operation. “ Author: Chris Hanson Staff Writer, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4970

HYBRID Class Series

Future Projects

To keep biomass bale harvesting efficient, Matlack still relies on listening and examining customer needs and concerns. For instance, the Stinger 8500, which is being designed exclusively for the biomass industry, has been in development the past three years. The 8500 model features technology for better traction in muddy conditions. Generally, farmers would not bale hay during the rain or muddy conditions, Matlack says. “But in the biomass industry it is an issue, because they combine corn whenever they can, and if the fields are a little muddy, then they’re a little muddy. So if that’s the environment you have, you have to be able



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December 2013 Biomass Magazine  

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December 2013 Biomass Magazine  

Biomass Magazine is the #1 Source of information for and about biomass industry pros.