Biogas production is rapidly increasing worldwide, and the UK is no exception to this. Historically the biogas has been used for production of heat, electricity, in transport or finally upgraded and delivered to the natural gas grid. The latter is the end purpose for Kinetic Biofuel customer Farm Renewables on The Isle of Sheppey. Introducing straw briquettes into the reactor has provided for nearly 50% of the total biogas output.
The yearly amount of raw material used at the Sheppey plant amounts to approx. 6,000 tons of straw briquettes (85%); 10,000 tons of chicken litter (75%); 14,000 tons of maize silage (33%) and 6,000 tons of fruit waste (20%). Dry matter percentage in parenthesis. Straw is bought on a contract basis to ensure a reasonable price of approximately £50 per ton on average. All raw materials are fed into a bio-mixer at the mentioned proportion, and subsequently fed into the digester. This entire straw handling and feeding in solution is cost effective in terms of operation & management and in terms of pre-treating the straw allowing for unimpaired use of straw for AD.
Malcolm McAllister explains that he favours biogas plants based on agricultural residues, as he easily obtains raw materials from local farms and also returns the digestate to these same farms. In time, he wishes to consider options of producing briquettes for bedding material for subsequent return of the straw to the digester as imbedded in the poultry manure, or any other manure. This will ensure an optimal bedding material, being sanitized and therefore free of any potential risk of carrying pathogens to the animal houses, such as any flu virus or any other pathogen.
But why add straw briquettes?
One quick answer: Induced steam explosion! When the straw passes through the briquetting machine, an explosion is created and the cell structure is disrupted allowing for water to penetrate the straw.
This completely new hydrophilic, water loving, property of straw is fundamental to suspend and digest straw briquettes in biofuel reactors. Briquetted straw has an incredible absorption rate - 7-10 times more than normal straw, which is the basis for high yields and easy use in biogas plants.
Farm Renewables considered different technologies including conventional steam-explosion, but in the end, they decided on acquiring a briquetting line from Kinetic Biofuel including a complete straw handling system. The line included two BP6510 C.F. Nielsen briquetting presses with a total capacity of 3 tons per hour.
Although new legislation is on its way from 2023, mentioning environmental issues due to the amount of digestate left after biogas production, the future still looks bright as there are many advantages to using straw in biogas production.
Malcolm McAllister says:
"Undoubtedly straw briquettes are a very good feedstock it works well in the system. We just need to get better at managing the straw getting into the plant. We have implemented better reception of straw with moisture control and we are considering buying a bale-dryer". - "I like the product (the straw briquettes) it is very good for the system, easy to feed and, compared to using steam explosion at our other plant, briquetting is very simple".
The amount of biogas/methane generated from straw in the biogas plant can be difficult to estimate precisely due to input of various raw materials. However, indications are that the yield from straw at the Farm Renewables plant so far is in the range of 200-250 Nm3 methane per ton. The upper limit is generally easy to achieve in conventional digesters (i.e., 300 I per kg VS).
C.F. Nielsen also affected by the Corona virus - updated 04.05.2021!
Starting May 6th:
The Danish Government are constantly implenting new guidelines, which all companies have to comply with:
The number of people for indoor events will increase from 10 people to 25 and outdoor activities to 75.
Grocery shopping and pharmacies are open,
All primary schools for grade 0-9 are open full time
All daycare facilities for small children are still open
Restaurants, cafés, bars are open until 11pm (negative test, dated max 72hours, is required) Private parties do not have to end at 11pm.
Private parties (at home) no longer have to end at 11pm
Haidressers are now open (negative test, dated max 72hours, is required)
Concert venues, theaters and cinemas will re-open (max 2000 spectators)
Proffesional sports (open for spectators April 21st)
Indoor sport activities and fitness centers will re-open, age limit 18 years (negative test, dated max 72hours, is required)
All universities are allowed to attend school at 50 from May 21st%
Travel guidelines are being updated continuously and travel to affected areas are still prohibited. In general travelling should avoided or limited only to important situations.
The Danish boarder is still open for travellers, but the Government urges everybody to consider avoiding tourist travel. Business travel is still open.
All companies are asked to follow the guidelines to the largest possible extend, and the recommendation is that employees work from home, take vacation or similar.
With respect to C.F. Nielsen, as off March 1st 2021 these guidelines have been implemented (and are still valid):
The company is still open for business, all employees are back in the office
We are able to receive orders for machines, spare parts and will do out utmost to ship them as usual
We are now able to offer service visits , but only to areas where the Danish Government and health authorities allow travel. Give us a call, and let's schedule your next service call.
We apologize for the inconvenience but we feel oblidged to follow the guidelines given by the Danish Government and the Danish Health Authority in order to control the Corona virus.
Mogens Slot Knudsen, Briquetting Expert at C.F. Nielsen A/S, explains why agricultural waste could be the best solution to preventing deforestation and increased biomass costs.
Within thin the last decades, biomass has becomean important element in many countries’ energy strategies. As one of the renewable energy sources, biomass was a driver in helping countries reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and this continues to be so.
It all started in Scandinavia and now, using biomass for fuel is common in countries, mainly in Europe but also globally. Typical raw materials are wood chips, wood briquettes and wood pellets, however, these raw materials are becoming commodities and with the increasing demand in Europe, biomass has become a scarce resource, which has led to a geographical change in the way biomass is produced — mainly pellets — as it is now being produced in countries where the biomass is cheaper. Producing biomass in one country and shipping it around the world will not be a sustainable solution in the long-term.
The higher utilisation of wood-based biomass will ead to reduced supply and higher prices. In other regions like Africa, the use of wood for fuel and cooking has led to deforestation. The only real alternative to avoid this negative trend seems to be to use agricultural waste already available in large quantities, but that is currently underutilised.
In fact, in many developing countries agricultural waste is being burned in fields instead of being used as fuel. In China, India, and other countries it is now prohibited to burn agricultural waste in the field, and these countries are looking for better alternatives.
New technologies are onstantly being developed and are available for agricultural waste. C.F. Nielsen has been working with many of these new technologies for several years; briquetting has many advantages. C.F. Nielsen produces high-quality briquetting equipment that can densify different types of biomass to create high quality briquettes, reducing volume drastically.
The briquettes become a uniform product with low moisture content, meaning reduced transport expenses. Burning briquettes in efficient stoves also reduces overall fuel consumption. No additives are usually needed in our briquette production. To new technologies such as gasification and biofuels, briquetting has added advantages. In the following cases, we outline the ways briquettes from agricultural waste are being used or can be used in a combination of old and new technologies.
Sugar production is largely based on sugar cane as raw material. After the sugar cane has been crushed and the sugar has been extracted, the remaining material called bagasse comes out as a waste. Part of the bagasse is typically burned at the sugar mill for the site’s own energy needs, but often the remaining material is simply dumped in nature, creating the risk of polluting the groundwater and water streams. This surplus could instead make briquettes for other energy purposes. Before briquetting, the drying and downsizingof the bagasse is needed.
As the sugar mills are getting increasingly bigger, the amount of bagasse being dumped is also increasing and making this market extremely interesting. We believe mechanical briquetting presses are the right choice for briquetting bagasse.
One of the most recent agricultural waste opportunities has emerged in the hemp and cannabis industry in North America. Prohibition prevented mass production of hemp products for decades, but recent legalisation of cultivation and production of hemp leaves mountains of hemp waste material.
In 2019, the by-products coming from this industry was estimated to be one million tons in North America alone. How to convert this raw material into something beneficial is still an open question and the key players in the industry are busy identifying channels for usage. As a result, C.F. Nielsen has experienced an increasing interest from hemp manufacturers wanting to explore briquetting.
It turns out that this raw material makes a high-quality briquette, which can be used as a biomass fuel product in several different industries.
Very simply gasification is a kind of incomplete combustion. By reacting organic or fossil fuel-based material at high temperatures >700°C and limiting the amount of airflow, you generate a gas called ’syngas’; this syngas can be used for the production of hydrogen and electricity.
Gasification is considered to be a source of renewable energy if the gas is obtained using biomass as a feedstock. Therefore, in recent years, gasification has been on everyone’s lips among people in the green biomass energy sector.
At C.F. Nielsen, we have done thorough testing for gasification applications over the years and it has turned out, that there are several advantages to using briquettes as a feeding source for gasifier systems. Feedstocks can consist of sawdust, wood fibres, straw, Miscanthus, bark, shells, and other biomass, as well as of paper, sewage sludge, and plastic waste. Agricultural residues make a good fuel source due to their high carbon content. Normally the gasification system needs biomass fuel to be a certain size and briquettes typically have the optimum shape. When you feed gasifiers with briquettes, the briquettes must not fall apart, and therefore a relatively high density is needed.
In some countries, the production of sunflower oil is extremely high. After extracting the oil, the husk from the sunflower seed is most often burned in the oil mills for their energy usage. But as the production facilities grow larger, they often have fewer energy requirements than what is available in the waste husks and consequently, they end up with a surplus
of waste material. Due to this, manufacturers have been searching for other uses of the sunflower husk.
One obvious way of using sunflower husks is to produce briquettes that could be sold or used in other industrial facilities for energy production. Alternatively, the briquettes could be used in local households for heating.
The quality of the briquettes produced is, in most cases, very good but depends on how the sunflower oil is separated from the seed and husk. The process varies between factories and a briquetting test should always be done first to access the result that could be obtained. Last year, C.F. Nielsen installed a high capacity briquetting plant for consumer briquettes from sunflower husks in the Balkan region.
With Covid-19 still affecting international exhibition, a whole new market of online webinars have surfaced. This enables companies like C.F. Nielsen to still market products and solutions.
Low Carbon Agriculture 2021 is a vibrant new business event for forward thinking farmers, landowners and industry operators. The event will explore ways to address climate change through the generation of renewable energy, the implementation of low carbon technology and best practice in both carbon and environmental land management.
Join us ONLINE, when Sales Director Mr. Mogens Slot Knudsen & Technical Director Mr. Torben Andreas Bonde present "Straw briquettes can effectively boost your biogas production":
Local regulations are aimed at increasing use of cereal straws and limiting energy crops in order to render biogas operations more climate, energy, and environmentally benign. Raw materials such as corn silage is being phased out and the best replacement is agricultural crop residues such as wheat straw. So far it has been virtually impossible to use wheat straw in significant quantities in biogas operations due to the hydrophobic, porous, and recalcitrant properties of raw straw. However, briquetted straw offers the opportunity to effectively introduce and co-digest straw briquettes in biogas operations, and obtain a high and stable gas yield. This session will introduce a full concept of using straw in biogas operations.
The presentation is followed by a LIVE Q&A, March 10th from 2-2:30pm !
Interested in knowing more? Feel free to register today!
With Covid-19 still affecting international exhibition, a whole new market of online webinars have surfaced. This enables companies like C.F. Nielsen to still market products and solutions.
RWM Virtual is the UK's largest Recycling, Resource & Waste Management Event, featuring over 100 expert speakers across the waste management and circular economy industries, over 500 exhibitors and numerousexperiential features and live demonstrations.
Join us ONLINE, when Regional Sales Manager, Mr. Esben Mikkel Vestergaard presents "An overview of the Market Posibilities for Briquettes in Europe":
In Europe, briquettes are seen as a real alternative to firewood. The consumers require green energy, that is economically competitive and convenient at the same time. On both parameters briquettes prevail over traditional domestic fuel sources.
On the industrial side, there is also market possibilities. Briquettes are used as fuel for district heating plants or traditional power stations. Political environmental initiatives have helped speed up this process, motivating companies to start a process of decarbonization.
The presentation is followed by a LIVE Q&A, February 24th from 10:10-10:40am !
Interested in knowing more? Feel free to sign up today!
World Expo Dubai 2021
C.F. Nielsen is happy no announce that we will be participating in the World Expo Dubai in 2021.
Connecting minds, creating the future
The World Expo Dubai is once-in-a-lifetime celebration - the largest event ever staged in the Arab world - is set to welcome 190 participating countries, and millions of visitors from accross the globe.
The 14th annual International Biomass Conference & Expo will take place virtually March 16-17, 2021. This dynamic event unites industry professionals from all sectors of the world’s interconnected biomass utilization industries—biobased power, thermal energy, fuels and chemicals.
RWM is the UK's largest Recycling, Resource & Waste Management Event and we are bringing this to you virtually. Join us for 3 unmissable days of free advice and education on the most pressing challenges facing your organisation.
Listen to live seminars from leading experts in the industry. Meet virtually with suppliers that can help overcome challenges and offer you products and solutions that can change your business. Network with experts and forge relationships with existing and new contacts.
C.F. Nielsen & Kinetic Biofuel to attend the World Biogas Online
With Covid-19 still affecting international exhibition, a whole new market of online webinars have surfaced. This enables companies like C.F. Nielsen as well as partner company Kinetic Biofuel to still market products and solutions.
Using straw briquettes for biogas will boost your biogas production reaching a yield equivalent to approx. 250 m3 of methane per ton of briquetted straw. Kinetic Biofuel offers a complete concept for handling of straw from bales to briquettes for industrial scale biogas production based on straw and slurry. Learn more about the technology in the video below.
Kinetic Biofuel will be participating in The World Biogas Expo from October 6-8, 2020. This is an online event. You can meet Torben Bonde and Mogens Slot Knudsen at this event.
Producing briquettes for increasing applications while meeting demand and maintaining standards
Briquetting: A growing trend for domestic fuel
Since the beginning of civilization, humans have tried to store and intensify energy.
Methods used were as simple as drying, bundling and bailing to compact loose combustible material for fuel making purposes. Modern briquetting is simple, but only because of the tremendous know-how accumulated over time that the briquetting press manufacturers have put into numerous complex technologies. Today, most briquettes are made on technically advanced and highly automated mechanical, hydraulic or screw extruder briquetting lines. Seen in a historical context, briquetting on a commercial level is a relatively new phenomenon with the first industrial plants dating back to the second part of the 19th century.
A biomass briquette is typically made from biomass by-products like sawdust, wood waste or agricultural leftovers. The machines compress the biomass making reconstituted logs that can replace firewood or coal. This product first emerged in developed countries but a refined version of the product was developed in the industrialised world. The use of briquettes, mainly in industry, was revitalised during the period of high energy prices in the 1970s and early 1980s, especially in Scandinavia, USA and Canada. Since the 1980s to today, briquettes have slowly been gaining more popularity among homeowners and now most of the world is familiar with them.
Growing European demand
Recently, focus on renewable energy has grown and the applications for briquettes have grown concurrently. Consumers require green energy that is economically competitive and convenient at the same time, and on both aspects, briquettes prevail over traditional domestic fuel sources. Therefore, briquetting today receives deserved attention, and is becoming a real alternative to conventional firewood and coal. Briquettes simply burn hotter and cleaner, are cheaper to buy and much easier to store and handle. Briquettes deliver around 50% more heat for each euro spent than logs. Apart from being clean and dry, another environmental benefit is that briquettes are often made from waste material that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. Consumers continue to discover these advantages, and over the last two years in particular, interest has been growing; prices and demand are unusually high, and suppliers are struggling to keep up with the progressive market.
The market in the UK is no exception. During the last couple of years there has been a misbalance between demand and supply of briquettes. The suppliers have simply not been able to meet the volume required and consequently prices have increased. Briquette dealers all over the UK have imported briquettes from Eastern Europe, and many companies need more local supply options guaranteeing consistent delivery.
Another circumstance that helps to accelerate the trend of briquetting is the renewed focus on air pollution in big cities such as London. Experts say that burning of wet or unseasoned wood and smoky solid fuels is a big problem; in winter, wood burning can contribute up to 10% of local emissions in London. To improve air quality, an important step is making sure only the cleanest domestic fuels are available for sale. Wet wood results in darker smoke and harmful particles. Consequently, it has been politically discussed to ban wood with moisture content higher than 20%. Also, stove manufacturers recommend users only burn wood with moisture content less than this, but logs sold in the UK generally have higher levels of moisture — 20% in well-seasoned wood, and up to 50% in other cases. With briquettes however, most have moisture content of 10% or less, meaning they burn better and cause fewer chimney and flu problems. Customers start buying the briquettes on the advice of their chimney sweep, because they are much cleaner burning and the tar- associated problems with unseasoned firewood can be avoided.
Briquettes in the future
There are no indications that the enthusiasm for briquettes will disappear in the future. On the opposite, the interest and market share increase every day. Growing environmental consciousness means that climate conscious consumers require clean, green and efficient fuel for their homes. This combined with growing awareness that briquettes can deliver more heat for money, means that briquettes are impossible to ignore and the trend of briquetting is here to stay.
New General Manager at C.F. Nielsen A/S
When RUF Briquetting Systems acquired C.F. Nielsen in 2018, it was decided that Mogens Slot Knudsen would continue as Managing Director until a new managing director was employed and then continue during a transitional period until mid-2020.
We are now pleased to announce that Jesper Stecher Madsen has taken over the position as Managing Director. Jesper is 58 years old, married, has 3 adult children and lives in Aalborg. Jesper is a mechanical engineer and has worked at different Danish companies as a technical manager, and for the past 5 years as Managing Director with responsibility for all sales activities.
Mogens Slot Knudsen will continue to work with sales, marketing and development projects until the end of June 2020. After July 2020 he will continue on the board of the company and as a consultant with focus on key customers and development projects.
We welcome Jesper and wish him good luck in his new position.
Danish briquettes kindle sustainable cooking in Africa
Food Nation is a partnership established by the Danish government and leading private organizations and companies. Together we generate global awareness of Denmark as a frontrunner within innovative, sustainable and effective food production – and showcase examples of how Danish know-how can accelerate the growth of international businesses.
Food Nation showcase examples of Danish organizations and companies, that all contribute to the sustainable development. C.F. Nielsen has recently been added to the list of Danish companies with our Village Concept:
"Cooking with wood stoves is not environmentally sustainable and produces toxic and potentially deadly smoke. Still, most African countries are using it daily. In response to that, C.F. Nielsen has developed a small-scale briquetting factory. This utilizes organic waste from African villages in circular production, protecting the forests from overlogging"....
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The perfect match
Ruf Briquetting Systems acquires C.F. Nielsen A/S
RUF Briquetting Systems is proud to announce the acquisition of C.F. Nielsen A/S of Baelum, Denmark.
RUF is the world leading manufacturer of hydraulic briquetting presses and C.F. Nielsen is the world leading manufacturer of mechanical briquetting presses. Together the two companies will master all important briquetting technologies and the co-operation, synergies, continuous development and marketing efforts will be of great benefit to our customers and partners all over the world.
The two companies will continue to operate as independent companies and the management of C.F. Nielsen will continue. The two brands RUF and C.F. Nielsen will continue and focus will from the beginning be on combined marketing efforts.
If you have any questions or comments about the acquisition, please do not hesitate to contact us.
About RUF: Hans Ruf founded RUF Briquetting Systems, located in Zaisertshofen, Bavaria, in 1969. Today his sons Roland and Wolfgang run the company. More than 100 employees develop and produce briquetting systems & solutions on a modular basis suitable to make briquettes from wood, metal and other residual materials. The smallest unit features a 4kW motor and a throughput rate of 20 to 150 kg per hour (depending on material and chips size). The biggest unit featuring a 90 kW motor achieves a throughput rate of up to 5,000kg per hour (depending on the material).
Back in 1985 RUF produced its first briquetting press and sold it to a wood machining firm. It is still in working order, proof perfect for the solid construction of RUF machines. In the meantime, more than 4,500 briquetting systems have been installed successfully in more than 100 countries.
About C.F. Nielsen: Established in 1889 in Baelum, Denmark C.F. Nielsen is recognized as the world leading in mechanical briquetting presses, a position that has been created through more than 70 years of experience developing, producing and selling high quality mechanical briquetting presses. C.F. Nielsen deliver briquetting solutions from 200 kg/h and upwards to plants with more than 100.000 tons capacity of briquettes per year. Lately the company has added extrusion briquetting technology to its product program.
Producer in Vietnam employs Danish Technology
In a commendable example of technology transfer, Jutland-based C.F. Nielsen A/S has completed the first full briquetting plant in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The plant processes clean wood, bark and potentially other types of available biomass. The new factory opening took place in Can Tho on 26 January, this year. The inauguration ceremony was attended by many visitors, both national and from around the world, who witnessed the first briquettes emerging from the production lines.
The new plant is owned by Thuy-Son Group (Daviwood), which also possesses its own nursery and plantation. This means that there is full control of the biomass from seeds to harvesting, which provides customers of the briquettes with full transparency throughout the manufacturing process and ensures sustainability.
Initially, the briquetting plant will process acacia wood from the FSC and FSC-COC certified forest in the province of Ca Mao in the South of Vietnam.
The project began when Thuy- Son contacted C.F. Nielsen with the Group’s plans for setting up what would be its first briquetting factory. Thuy-Son had a long experience in supplying wood chips for power plants and wanted to bring added value to its product for the benefit of its customers. The aim was also to have a fully automatic plant of very high quality capable of operating 24/7. This was to ensure a good long-term investment and because of that being able to provide customers with a uniform and high quality product. Thuy-Son and C.F. Nielsen approached the Danish Government (Danida) and asked for support in establishing the first plant with a combination of C.F. Nielsen’s primary equipment and preparation equipment engineered by C.F. Nielsen and manufactured by a Vietnamese company.
Danida approved and granted its support to the project, which was based on the obvious green energy initiative as an alternative to fossil fuel, as well as the generation of employment opportunities in Vietnam.
Initially, the briquetting plant will be able to produce four tons per hour or 20-25,000 tons per year of briquettes due to very high uptime of the equipment.Why briquettes?
Thuy Son wanted to add value to its products, so the choice then stood between making pellets or briquettes. The briquette was chosen for several reasons, but mainly because of the following:
Easier to operate
Significantly lower operation costs leading to lower energy prices for the Group's customers
Ability to utilize many different raw materials and flexibility in the equipment, meaning that both the industrial market and domestic consumers could be served
Seeds from the acacia are grown in the Thuy-Son nursery and the small plants are transferred to the Group’s plantation. These will grow into trees with a diameter of approximately 30 cm at the base over the following four-five years and are then harvested. The lower part of the tree trunks can be used for timber (e.g. in the manufacture of furniture) and the remainder will be loaded on to barges and shipped to the factory where the logs will be chipped, dried and hammer-milled to achieve the perfect raw material for the briquetting process.
C.F. Nielsen has engineered the plant and has selected local and foreign suppliers to deliver the equipment. C.F. Nielsen tasks have included project management, engineering, selection of suppliers, installation and commissioning, as well as participation in technical management of the factory.
The end-product from the plant will be briquettes for power plants and industrial boilers, both for the export and home markets. The briquettes can also be packed for domestic use in open fireplaces and stoves.
A new look into the leading manufacturer of mechanical briquetting
We've spent the last couple of months working hard on producing a video which can tell you, and show you, who we are as a company and potential business partners. We hope that you enjoy the video, and do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions regarding the video or us as a company.
Want to know more?
Don't hesitate to contact us with any briquetting related issuse.
Who is C.F. Nielsen?
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Briquettes are the hot new thing for your wood-burning stove, so cut out the logs
Hugely popular elsewhere in Europe, briquettes are beginning to take off in the UK – and they’re good for your fireplace or stove, your pocket and the environment.They burn hotter and cleaner, are cheaper to buy, and much easier to store and handle – so why do so few people with open fires and wood-burning stoves use recycled wood briquettes to heat their home?
Big in Europe, but still largely untried by many fire users in the UK – particularly in the south – those selling them claim that once you have tried briquettes, you’ll never go back to hauling piles of logs off your drive.
Briquettes deliver around 50% more heat for each pound spent than logs. They also have strong environmental credentials as they are made from waste wood produced as part of the furniture or other wood-related businesses – or in some cases collected from skips (see right). Burning wood is generally considered a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel because trees absorb carbon as they grow. The environmental writer Chris Goodall has done the sums and heats his home using wood pellets – similar to briquettes – made from UK wood. The Drax coal power station burns pellets shipped from the US on the basis that the carbon savings are more than 80% once the life cycle of the trees are taken into account
Briquette producers take sawdust and other shredded wood, apply 10,000psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure, and out pop briquettes. They are almost entirely natural – the lignin molecules in the wood melt under the pressure and bind the wood chip and dust together. They come in a variety of shapes from a number of providers, and in initial tests by Guardian Money they perform fantastically well in wood-burners. One briquette can last up to four hours, and big users will find they save around £150 a year compared to buying conventional logs.
Rowland Parke, director of the Dumfries-based Wood Fuel Co-operative, says people in the UK are finally starting to wake up to the benefits of briquettes. “We are selling more and more of them, particularly in the past year or so. Once people try them they soon stop buying logs locally. They are cleaner and easier to store, and take up around half the space of a log pile. Until you have tried one you won’t believe how much heat they can deliver,” he says.
"They are cleaner and easier to store, and take up around half the space of logs. You won’t believe the heat they deliver". Rowland ParkeParke, who also sells kiln-dried logs nationally from the non-profit co-op’s Scottish base, says stove manufacturers recommend users burn wood with a moisture content of less than 20%. The moisture content of most briquettes is 10% or less, meaning they burn better and cause fewer chimney and flue problems. Logs sold in the UK generally have much higher levels of moisture – 20% in well-seasoned wood, and up to 50% in other cases, Parke says.
The co-op was set up by a group of like-minded people to gain bulk-buy discounts. It started selling briquettes in 2012, and they are now its biggest seller. Parke says some of the briquettes come from the Verdo plant 90 miles away in Grangemouth, but the majority arrive by ship from eastern Europe – particularly Latvia and Estonia.
Stuart Fitzgerald, managing director of online supplier White Horse Energy, is another big fan. “Until recently you could draw a line across the UK: southerners all ordered nice-looking kiln-dried wood, while all our briquette orders came from the north. Now that’s changing, partly because of a growing awareness that briquettes can deliver more heat for the money.”He says you have to keep them in a dry place as if they expand rapidly if they get wet. When they burn they leave around 1% of their original volume as ash, meaning you don’t have to empty the stove as often. The best burn so hot, Fitzgerald says, that users have to be careful not to exceed the stove’s heat capacity.
So which to buy? New users should try a selection to see which work best in their stove or fireplace. Most, but not all, can be broken in half – useful if you have a smaller stove – while some expand more than others when burnt.
The Wood Fuel Co-op has the bigger selection, while White Horse Energy is marginally cheaper. The latter sells a pallet of Nielsen Briquettes, the cheapest good quality ones we have found, for £205 for 960kg. Its Excel Briquettes, rated 5 stars by users, are £265 a tonne delivered. The Wood Fuel Co-op, meanwhile, has 910kg of its very well regarded Premium Hard briquettes for £267 delivered. Buyers get 91 10kg packs – these are some of the longest burning out there, and can be broken. It also offers an excellent pick and mix service.
If you want to try without making a big order, the discount store chain Home Bargains sells Verdo briquettes for £2.79 for a pack of six. Increasingly, local coal suppliers stock them too.
Saving waste timber from landfill and turning it into a clean fuel is at the heart of social entrepreneur David Ousby’s briquette business Cambridge Wood Fuel.
Much of the wood comes from the waste produced by joinery firms, and this week Ousby (above) was using waste wood from a theatrical set builder.
Ousby originally ran a service offering waste timber collection and recycling, providing employment and volunteering opportunities to local residents as well as affordable prices. Surplus stock was donated to community groups.
Realising that not all the wood could be reused in its original state, Ousby started producing briquettes, which he calls Cambridge Hotlogs. Today his machinery is capable of producing up to a tonne of briquettes a day.
“We first shred it, then compress it, and then the hotlogs are available to buy either from our outlets or for delivery within a 20 mile area".
“Over the years we have built up a loyal local following in and around Cambridge who like the fact that we are reusing waste wood that would otherwise end up in landfill.”
Ousby says many customers start buying the briquettes on the advice of their chimney sweep. “Because they have so little moisture, in comparison to logs, they are much cleaner burning and you don’t get the tar problems associated with unseasoned firewood.”
His briquettes are produced to the Woodsure + Plus standard, and suitable for burning in renewable heat initiative-compliant boilers. They come in 12.5kg packs and sell singly (£6) or in loads of up to 1 tonne (£292), plus delivery.
Succesful upgrade of technology
One of our customers in Sweden, Olle Dahl Såg, had 3 old W75 briquetting presses producing 75 mm industrial briquettes. The capacity of the 3 presses were approx. 700 kg/h per press. The presses were equipped with 55 kW main motors, resulting in a total power consumption of approx. 115 kW or approx. 55 kW per ton produced.
As the presses were old our customer wanted to replace them, which we did by installing 2 BP5510 Briquetting Presses, with a capacity each of 1.200 kg/h per press. The BP5510’s are equipped with 45 kW main motors resulting in a total power consumption of approx. 65 kW or approx. 30 kW per ton produced. The change resulted in less space requirement, higher capacity, and lower operational costs.
Biomass is recognized as an efficient and an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. Densification of biomass is an important element in trading and handling biomass, as densified fuel offers logistical advantages, and becomes a commodity ensuring high energy content and homogenous quality. Within densification, pellets are best known, but briquetting offers many alternative advantages.Traditionally, briquetting technology was established for developing countries to produce briquettes of local residues, for use in household cooking stoves and restaurants. Later, as the capacities of the machines increased,
briquettes were used in industrial boilers to create heat, steam and power for industry and power plants. Within the past 20 years, briquetting has also found its way to households in industrialized countries as consumer logs for wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.
In recent years, as the focus on renewable energy has grown, the applications for briquettes have grown concurrently, as have different technologies and new applications.
Briquetting technologies include mechanical briquetting presses, hydraulic briquetting presses and screw presses; it is important that customers select the best technology for their applications.
The mechanical briquetting press is built like an eccentric press, and has a very simple design. A constantly rotating eccentric, connected to a piston, presses the raw material
through a conical die system, where the briquettes are being formed. Large flywheels secure a very quiet and balanced operation. The press operates with 270 strokes per minute. The briquettes are cooled and hardened in a cooling line, which also serves as transportation of the briquettes. The presses work fully automatic, resulting in a smooth operation with very little maintenance and service. The robust design ensures a long life span and the presses can operate up to 7,000 to 8,000 hours per year.
C.F. Nielsen has more than 70 years’ experience with briquetting machines and, over the years, has developed new equipment and increased capacities, so that the range is now
from 200 kilograms per hour (kg/h) up to 5.000 kg/h per machine. The briquettes can be produced in sizes from a diameter of 50 millimeters (mm) to 120 mm, and in square
form from 55 mm by 55 mm to 100 mm by 100 mm. Other shapes can also be produced.
The main advantage of a mechanical briquetting press is that the press can be used both for consumer logs and industrial briquettes for boilers. Industrial briquettes can either be made as short pucks, at random lengths or cut to a defined length. Further advantages are high capacity, low production costs, and multiple densities.Hydraulic Presses
In a hydraulic press, the raw material is pressed into a precompression chamber by a dosing screw. In the chamber, the exact amount of material is precompressed. The main piston transfers the raw material into the die that forms the briquette into its final state and required density.
The compressionprocess of a hydraulic press is relatively slow. The compression cycle can be between six and 25 cycles per minute, depending on the amount loaded or the density of the briquettes. Hydraulic briquetting
presses were traditionally small, with capacities from 50 kg/h up to 200 kg/h. Briquettes were round, with a diameter of 50 mm to 75 mm.
However, today, hydraulic briquettes can be made in primarily rectangular forms with a capacity up to 1.5 tons per hour. The traditional size is 150 by 60 mm, but bigger briquettes can be made.
C.F. Nielsen’s BPH-Quattro briquetting press, a hydraulic press has a capacity of up to 600 kg/h. The briquetting press is a self-contained unit, with a small dosing bin, PLC control panel and the briquetting press. The press can produce briquettes with a high density due to a large main motor and cylinder. The rectangular briquette is a uniformsized briquette that is easy to store. The briquettes have a lower density slightly below 1, which gives a shorter burn. The press can produce good briquettes from mixed materials of larger particles, and is very compact. The briquettes are typically used as consumer briquettes for fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.
Please note that this hydraulic briquetting machine is no longer offered by C.F. Nielsen. We refer to our new sister company RUF Briquetting Systems.
In an extruder briquetting press, the raw material is fed into a chamber by a feeding screw. The raw material is compressed by a compression screw into the conical die and extension die. The compression screws are conical in shape. The screw operates with approximately 800 revolutions per minute, and during the process high heat—up to 300 degrees Celsius— is being generated in a combination of friction and heating of the die system.
The BP Shimada Screw Press has capacities up to 500 kg/h. The press is a self-contained unit with a small bin, PLC control panel, smoke hood and saw. The screw press is a machine for high-quality briquettes with a very high density. The machine is a more delicate press, requiring very homogenous raw material with very fine particles (between 2 and 6 mm) and the moisture content between 6 and 8 percent. If these requirements are met, the machine will produce state-of-the-art briquettes that will burn longer than all other alternatives. The briquettes are typically used as consumer briquettes or logs for fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.
Recent Trends, Projects
Today, briquetting is obtaining renewed attention. A briquetting machine is more simple and easier to operate, which opens new possibilities in new markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America. Furthermore, briquetting presses can handle a larger range of raw material such larger particles, waste with higher ash content and special raw materials. Some examples of these applications include the following.
The world’s largest plant for consumer logs. One of the largest producers of pallets wanted to produce more than 100,000 tons of briquettes per year, with exact weight of each package at 10 kg. A line of 12 BP6500 briquetting presses, automatic saws with check weighing systems was delivered.
Reducing deforestation. In Kenya, 65 percent of energy comes from wood from forests causing deforestation. At the same time, agricultural residues are burned in the field. Waste from pineapple fields are now being briquetted on four BP6510 briquetting presses with a total capacity of 6 tons per hour, improving sustainability.
Creating value from waste. In New Zealand, a company was looking to find a solution for the dust byproducts from their MDF production. The dust produced during the manufacturing process needed careful and costly disposal. The dust was converted to briquettes and sold to a greenhouse, turning the waste into a considerable profit maker.
Getting the best of demolition wood. A German company had a trucking business collecting different types of waste. The best raw material, including old pallets, is now being used for consumer logs. The company has three BP65100 briquetting presses with a total capacity of 3.5 to 4 tons per hour.
Low cost for production of torrefied wood. Torrefied wood is a difficult raw material with high friction and very little binding in the raw material. Briquetting has a considerable lower power consumption and a general lower consumption. Several presses have been sold for laboratory testing and production lines.
Increasing gas production in anerobic digesters. Normally, wheat straw cannot be utilized in biogas plants, as straw cannot absorb water. When straw is being briquetted, the process creates small steam explosions, which together with high heat and mechanical treatment, changes the structure of the straw. Adding 10 percent briquettes to animal slurry can increase biogas production by 150 percent.
Turning refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and solid recovered fuel (SRF) into a profit maker. In many countries, RDF/SRF is a waste that costs high tipping fees to dispose of. When the raw material is converted into briquettes, it becomes a fuel that can be sold for energy.
Briquettes for cooking stoves. In Africa, charcoal is being used for cooking stoves. A “Village concept” has been created, enabling small villages to convert agricultural waste and other types of waste to small briquettes for cooking.
Putting the large amounts of biological waste in Africa to good use can help turn the tide that threatens to wipe out the continent’s forests
Tapping the untapped
Company CEO Mogens Slot Knudsen in a pineapple field
Africa is a new growth market for briquetting companies, as there is a demand for sustainable energy resources as an alternative to existing energy resources. The existing resources are mainly firewood and charcoal, often from nonsustainable forests. The current equipment manufacturers supplying the market provide mostly products of low quality with a lack of documentation and after sales service, often leaving the customers to their own devices. The result is that the machinery breaks down within a short time and, as it is often not repaired, factories stop working.
High quality briquetting equipment can densify different types of biomass to create high quality briquettes that reduce the volume to be handled drastically. The briquettes become a uniform product with a low moisture content, which leads to reduced transport expenses. Burning briquettes in efficient stoves will not only be more efficient but also reduce overall fuel consumption. No additives are usually neededin briquette production. Using briquettes made from wood residues or agricultural wastes also reduces consumption of firewood and wood from forests, thus having a positive effect on deforestation.
The African market
In Africa, there are two main market segments for briquetting machinery manufacturers. The first is larger companies wishing to switch from firewood or fossil fuels to renewable energy. In order to become sustainable, many of these companies can benefit from biomass. Some good examples of how to do it are using sugarcane bagasse to make briquettes to replace firewood, or using pineapple waste.
The second segment is domestic cooking, namely replacing firewood and locally produced charcoal with briquettes from wood residues or agricultural wastes. For poor people in the area, the largest part of daily food preparation takes places with an open fire with firewood as the most common type of fuel. A lion’s share of this wood used comes from local forests and results in deforestation. The alternative is to use briquettes made from wood residues or agricultural wastes.
To see the briquetting press used for this project, click the button below to the left
To read more about the Global Supply Solutions project, click the button below to the right
To this end, Danish briquetting company C.F. Nielsen has delivered a plant to Ghana with the support from the Nordic Environment Finance Corp. (NEFCO). The plant has a capacity of approx. 600-700kg per hour, which seems to be far too high for this concept. Therefore, a more reasonably sized plant is in development, producing around 150-200kg of briquettes per hour. This concept is named the “Village Concept” and C.F.
Nielsen is in co-operation with Care Denmark to introduce it in Uganda, based on support from the Danish Government’s Danida programme.
The project aims to develop a “village” model for briquetting wastes at a capacity between 150-200kg per hour.Local farmers or smaller companies with residues can either sell their residues to the village factory or they can exchange residues for finished briquettes. C.F. Nielsen has the technical capability to develop a solution for this new concept. It intends to develop the machine in Denmark, but part of the production will be outsourced to Eastern Europe in order to secure a reasonable price for the equipment. The supplementary equipment for downsizing and drying will be sourced from the Far East, but the equipment will be developed, manufactured, and documented under C.F. Nielsen’s supervision to ensure it meets the necessary standards.
To read more about the C.F. Nielsen "Village Concept", please click on the button below
Briquetting pineapple waste in Kenya
C.F. Nielsen has for a couple of years been working with the company Global Supply Solutions in Kenya. The owner of the company, Allan Marega, has obtained the rights to use pineapple waste from the Del Monte pineapple plantations in Thika, Kenya. The Del Monte plantations are a large multinational farming enterprise with vast areas of pineapple under cultivation. They harvest pineapple during the entire year and the waste
yield is approximately 77 tonnes per hectare. In total, the plantations produce more than 800,000 tonnes of pineapple waste per year.
Currently, this waste is a health hazard hosting rodents and fungi and has to be burned, as it is not used for anything.
In Kenya, the main source of fuel for industries and households is wood, either in the form of firewood or charcoal. The amount of wood used is very high, and the country’s tea factories alone use approximately
500,000 tonnes per year. The continuous use of firewood results, as mentioned earlier, in deforestation. Something will urgently need to be done about this, as there is only about 7% forest cover remaining in Kenya
against the UN recommended standard of 10%. A change in weather patterns and increases in temperature can already be clearly observed.
The use of local resources like biomass to help mitigate the effects of climate change is a realistic solution for African countries as agriculture is widespread and continuously growing. Using briquettes from agricultural waste like pineapple can contribute to reducing deforestation.
Watch Company CEO, Allan Marega, explain about briquetting of pineapple waste and the C.F. Nielsen machines
The main market for Global Supply Solutions will be the mentioned tea factories, but also other industriesand private households.
The project starts with the collection of raw material from the field. The raw material will dry in the sun, after which it will be baled and transported to the factory where it will be stored until briquetted. Some of the raw material will contain moisture and will have to be dried during the briquetting process. The pineapple waste material is shredded, stones are removed, and the material is milled down in size. Sand will be removed before briquetting.
After briquetting, the end product will be stored and packed in different forms and then delivered to the clients. The installed capacity of the new factory will be 6 tonnes of briquettes per hour, which, when fully operational, can reach a capacity of up to 40,000 tonnes per year. Once implemented, Global Supply Systems plans to expand the factory and may also introduce the concept to other countries.
The Village Concept in Uganda
The partnership between C.F. Nielsen and Care Danmark aims to increase the production and use of renewable fuel briquettes made from freely available agricultural waste in Uganda. By replacing the current unsustainable wood fuel and charcoal, the project can not only reduce deforestation, but also generate local income and employment.
The partners will collaborate on testing adapted technology in a real-life setting and defining sustainable business models based on studies of marketing and financing options. Local capacity will be built for managing briquette production and using improved stoves and briquettes. The project is expected to lead to expansion of market opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
Ugandan households rely on collected firewood in rural areas and charcoal in urban areas. Of Uganda’s total energy consumption, 66% is covered by wood, and 92% of Ugandan households have either a three-stone fireplace with wood or a charcoal stove as their primary cooking device. Per capita consumption of firewood is 680kg per year in rural areas and 240kg per year in urban areas. An estimated 44 million tonnes of woody biomass are being cut each year, while the country’s forests can only produce 26 million tonnes sustainably.
Forests are essential, as they support Uganda’s economy, people’s livelihoods, and sustain biodiversity. They are also vital in mitigating climate change by providing carbon storage and sequestration services. The pressure to convert forests into agricultural land is high because of high population growth (3.2% annually), low productivity, land degradation, poor capacity of forest management agencies, and widespread
corruption. Uganda’s forest cover is reducing at an alarming rate, as between 1990 and 2010, Uganda lost 37% of its forests. It is estimated that if current trends continue, Uganda’s forests will disappear completely by 2050.
Meanwhile, many biomass residues from agriculture are not collected or used, and are instead left to rot or are burned in the fields. C.F. Nielsen has made an initial market study for Uganda, which documented the availability of biomass waste in large quantities across the country, including sawdust, bagasse, rice husks and straw, sunflower hulls, cotton seed hulls, tobacco dust, maize cobs and stalks, groundnut shells, and flower waste. If biomass was collected and used for fuel, it would be a win-win situation for both the people of Uganda, their forests, and the climate.
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A new machine
Industrial-grade briquetting machines are currently very large, with capacities exceeding 500kg/h as a minimum. This size limits their use to large facilities with abundant raw material. There is also a lot of smallscale equipment with 5-10 kg/h capacities, but these are not industrial grade and will not last in long-term operations. Thus, building up a briquetting business using these low-capacity machines will be difficult.
In order to be more flexible and to serve smaller communities, C.F. Nielsen is now looking at developing a machine — in addition to its leading high-capacity range— with a capacity of 150-200 kg/hour with auxiliary equipment for breaking down and pre-drying biomass. The machine can then not only be used for various materials
like wood and agricultural waste products, but it can also be moved around to various locations according to the agricultural seasons. The briquettes can be used instead
of charcoal, and by turning organic waste into solid fuel, it will reduce deforestation.
The user will then have a solid product with which to make briquettes that are also of better quality than the cheaper options. People with excess organic waste can turn their waste into valuable briquettes for their own use or for further retail, thus increasing their income.
Member of the month
Danish Energy Association "DI Energi" nominates C.F. Nielsen A/S as Member of the Month in October 2016.To read the full description in Danish - go to www.energi.di.dk
"Probably the largest briquetting plant in the world"
Alluding perhaps to a famous Danish beer brand, fellow Danes from briquetting technology providers C.F Nielsen are supplying the press lines to the plant. The delivery also includes some newly developed technology as CEO Mogens Slot Knudsen explains.
The press photo shows an impressive line-up of new briquetting presses, twelve in total, under installation has been in circulation for a while but the location of the client had remained undisclosed.
Given the production scale of around 100.000 tons of briquettes per year and the fierce competition for sawmill residues inside much of Europe, one could reasonably assume a client outside Europe.
Not so. As Mogens Slot Knudsen, CEO for C.F. Nielsen, recently revealed the client is in fact a German wood processing company, HIT HoltzIndustrie Torgau OHG and that the plant once at full production will be "probably the largest briquetting plant in the world".
Based in Torgau, close to Leipzig in Northern Saxony, Germany the company operates an integrated sawmill and wood processing plant producing wood pallets along with packaging components and garden wood products such as fencing stakes. Part of the Hilmer- Lippmann Group, the Torgau site was acquired in 1998 and in recent years production capacity has been ramped up to process close to 1 million m3 small and medium diameter softwood logs.
The group also runs own harvesting and haulage crews, and has long-term harvesting contracts with forest owners in the region. The new briquetting plant will use residues from pallet production to produce consumer grade briquettes. Production is expected to begin within a few months. Apart from C.F Nielsen other well known technology suppliers Vecoplan, Stela and Transnova RUF are involved in the project.
Raw material optimization
The twelve BP6500 presses are of mechanical piston type specifically designed for consumer briquette production and each unit has a capacity range of 1 – 1.5 tons/hour.
However what is a significantly important feature is one of the latest developments by C.F. Nielsen, the BS 350 automatic briquette length sizing saw combined with the in-line weight checking system. This unique option allows manufacturers of consumer briquettes to optimise raw material utilization.
The unit checks the weight of each briquette, calculates the rolling average of the previous ten and automatically adjusts the briquette length based on this in order to keep a constant package weight of 10 kg.
Small numbers add up
According to Knudsen the weight accuracy for such a package is +/- 1% for five pieces of 2 kg Ø90 mm briquettes ing saw has an accuracy of +/- 2mm on the prescribed length.
“While these figures don’t sound much in themselves this improved raw material optimization means between 2 – 5% extra to your bottom line”, concluded Knudsen.
Solid recovered fuel offers new possibilities for fuel briquette manufacturers
Briquetting solid waste
The European Waste Directive set targets for each EU member country to reduce the mass of waste consigned to landfill. Encouraged by regulation and the landfill tax, UK waste producers and processors were motivated to "reduce reuse, and recycle". Processing technology has enabled waste pre-treatment and recovery of aggregates, glass, metals, plastic, paper, and cardboard.
The three R's were extended to include "recovery" - namely energy recovery by incineration of the residual waste, but UK waste processors are at a disadvantage as there are insufficient local incinerators.
The alternative was the growing demand for refuse derived fuel (RDF) from UK's European and Scandinavian neighbours, who embraced RDF as a reliable source of green energy and revenue. RDF is made from domestic waste which includes biodegradable material as well as plastics, and has a lower calorific value than solid recovered fuel (SRF). RDF is used in energy-from-waste plants. SRF is a refined form of RDF.
Multiple investments throughout northern Europe created an overcapacity of combined heat and power (CHP) plants but a shortage of reliable fuel. This is the reason why UK waste processors have found a ready market for around 2 million tonnes of RDF at a cost of upwards of £60 (77 Euros) per tonne.
There has been an increased focus in using secondary biomass for energy. This is because the UK has renewable energy targets to meet and the use of RDF/SRF, although not wholly renewable, can contribute to these targets.
In fact, the UK has to obtain 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
In 2011 the UK government introduced an environmental programme to provide financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat. This is called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
It provides financial support to non-domestic renewable heat generators and producers of biomethane. Only municipal solid waste (N6W), including SRF with less than 10% fossil fuel, and wastes which are at least 90% biomass are eligible (except for anaerobic digestion) for the subsidy.
Obtaining incentives for heat increases the profitability of using secondary biomass for non-conforming materials. Domestic general waste is best suited for waste pre treatment (recycling), with the residue forming RDF.
Solid recovered fuel
SRF differs from RDF in the major aspect that there is a European standard (CEN/TC343) for it. SRF is produced from non-hazardous waste in compliance with the European standard EN 15359 and requires the producer to test the net calorific value, chlorine, and heavy metals indicated in the Industrial Emissions Directive.
It is important to note that EN15359 and its underlying heat generation and this is helping the SRF industry. Unregulated waste producers, including domestic households, form around 40% of UK waste. Local authority guidance has encouraged householders to segregate recyclables and green waste, but the residual general domestic waste contains high levels of moisture and is invariably contaminated with standards do not state quality levels, and it is the end user who defines the specification for density, particle size, moisture level, chemical composition, and energy content of the fuel. The principle UK users of SRF are cement manufacturers who utilise SRF as a secondary fuel and benefit from the gate fee revenue. Gate fees for SRF reflect the increased cost of processing and are generally much lower than for RDF, typically £30 per tonne.
The SRF standard is more easily achieved if the source and composition of the incoming waste is known. Regulated waste producers, industrial and commercial sources, must segregate hazardous waste and accurately describe the composition of the non-hazardous waste.
Read more about the C.F. Nielsen Star Press-9 by clicking the button below
Thus, non-hazardous waste from regulated industrial producers is consistent, contains less moisture and contamination, and is more attractive to waste processors seeking to produce conforming SRF. SRF is produced on a just-in-time basis. Simple quality control procedures are built into the process. Pre-treated waste residue (post-recycling) is visually inspected before shredding to 200mm particle size.
The material is then passed through over-band magnets, eddy current separators, and wind sifters to remove nonconforming material prior to final shredding to 20mm. It is finally passed over a grading screen to remove fines. Samples of the end product are assessed for moisture content and cumulative samples sent for laboratory analysis to confirm adherence to the specification. These results can be plotted to monitor trends in the source material and even seasonal effects.
The waste processor must shift the SRF quickly to the end user to minimise storage space and mitigate risk. Transport is typically by sheeted 100m3 ejection trailers filled by 1 0m3 bucket loader. Uncompressed, the SRF has a density ofaround 110-130kg/m3.
Briquette manufacture trial
UK energy producer Warwick Energy conducted a six-month briquetting trial using a pair of C.F. Nielsen BP3200 presses. C.F. Nielsen is a manufacturer of briquetting equipment recommended for maximum raw material moisture content of 16%. The manufacturing trial verified the optimum SRF moisture content of 14-1 5%, with the moisture content of finished briquettes being typically around 10%. Further tests of stored briquettes observed the moisture content continued to drop to 8%.
Warwick Energy's test was based primarily on SRF producing briquettes with small diameters (40 mm). In general, C.F. Nielsen has found that SRF is a difficult raw material to densify, with higher apex and capex costs than normal biomass. It is C.F. Nielsen's recommendation that SRF should be mixed with another raw material such as demolition wood, as this will increase the capacity of the machines and lower the costs. Increasing the diameter to 60 mm will increase capacity even more and thus result in a good investment.
During the test the SRF was compressed through a die to extrude a continuous length of material. The die is smaller than the required finished diameter, as the emerging hot material expands as it exits the die. The pressure and the heat is adjusted to ensure adhesion of the particles and density of the extruded material. Typical processing temperature was 180-190 degrees C and the extruded SRF was cooled prior to breaking to finished length. The optimum briquette length is typically three to four times the diameter. SRF moisture is the key issue. Moisture above the stated limits invariably leads to unstable extrusion. Die wear is significantly improved when abrasive metal and aggregate fines are minimised. Consistent SRF particle size enables the breaking of regular length briquettes.
A known volume of finished briquettes was weighed to determine the density. Warwick's specification for finished briquettes was 550- 565kg/m3. Improvements to the wind sifter during the course of the trial contributed
considerably to the production of consistent briquettes.
The significant characteristics of the briquettes are the increased energy content attributable to the reduced moisture and the increased density, compared to normal SRF. Other benefits included reduced odour; assumed to be the result of the process heat eliminating bacterial activity. Briquettes exposed to the weather remained robust. When wetted, they were found to not absorb moisture and briquettes subjected to robustness test reported losses of 5%. An uncontrolled test noted negligible avian or vermin activity.
The briquettes performed as predicted in the gasifier. The flow of the fuel was easy to control and the syngas generated met expectations. The briquettes remained stable following loading by 10 m3 bucket, transport in
50m3 trailer, and off-loading by conveyor belt with minimal losses of fines.
Although there is considerable investment in briquetting equipment and energy to produce briquettes, the outcome is a high energy, robust fuel that is readily transportable, storable, and simple to handle.
New plant in Belgium
Once again we have been fortunate to work with the the RICHE Group, a family owned Belgian wood-processing company, who had to rebuild their factory after a fire in 2014. Before the fire they had three different briquette presses from C.F. Nielsen; however this time a more uniform consumer briquette was desired.
With the co-operation of our agent for Belgium Mr Alain Degraeve, the RICHE Group bought a complete production line; 2x BP6510 briquetting presses, saw- and packing equipment, to produce softwood briquettes for the consumer market.
Tailored process from purchase to production
C.F. Nielsen tailors the process from purchase to production to the customer’s specific needs. This was also the case for the RICHE Group. We developed a customized layout of the plant, in cooperation with the RICHE Group. While we produced the briquetting presses at our Danish production facility and coordinated with partners, the RICHE Group was busy preparing for the machines arrival. When the machines and the RICHE Group were ready, our skilled supervisor helped install the machines and start up production.
The RICHE Group is now capable of producing 2x1.25 t/h up to 24 hours a day. Combining teamwork, expertise and the RICHE Groups flexibility, we were able to start production of briquettes without any delays.
- A success story for all parties.
From by-product to fuel
Southern Pine Products in Canterbury is turning MDF dust into valuable boiler fuel, which it sells to a local flower producer. By installing a briquette press it has cut waste disposal costs by more than $180,000 a year and created new revenue stream - and it sees scope to get even more value from its investment.
By-product, and how to deal with it, was one of the first considerations for Southern Pine Products when it started manufacturing MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) products.
“The business already had a commitment to continuous environmental improvement. That, coupled with the high cost of disposing of MDF waste in landfill, prompted us to actively seek out the best solution,” says Managing Director Michael Taylor.
Christchurch-based Southern Pine Products bills itself as a ‘green building solutions company’. It provides a range of timber products, including mouldings, weatherboards, door jambs and timber finishing products, for internal and external use. And it does so with an ethos of sustainability, sourcing timber from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forest and being FSC Chain of Custody Certified. The company entered the MDF business when it purchased Plyco Select in 2007.
Exploring the options
“We had a fallback position because we knew that the company we sourced the MDF board from, Dongwha, would accept the MDF dust back from us as furnace fuel for their energy centre,” says Mr Taylor. “But the clear preferred option from the start was to turn the dust into some sort of biofuel and sell it locally.”
The company was no stranger to wood as a renewable energy source, already selling its non-treated timber residue to solid Energy for the manufacture of pellets for clean-burning pellet fires and using wood fuel in its Greymouth sawmill to fire boilers for the kilns.
Although MDF is safe in building use, the dust produced during the manufacturing process needs careful – and costly – disposal.
Initially southern Pine was disposing of the dust in sealed plastic sacks in the landfill, which cost on average $15,000 per month. Various alternative options were looked at and a cost / benefit analysis carried out. the company considered producing pellets for domestic use, but that was ruled out because MDF waste has to be burnt at extremely high temperatures to destroy any residual formaldehyde – meaning industrial boilers are needed. This is the case, even though Southern Pine uses low-formaldehyde MDF board – E0 – which contains very low levels of formaldehyde, similar to that found naturally in radiata pine.
Installing a briquette press
Having completed its research, the company opted to install a briquette press, a machine which turns MDF dust into combustible briquettes for boiler fuel. The Danish-manufactured BP 3200 briquetting press was installed in 2008. The press and its installation cost the company $262,000, with EECA contributing $76,000 in the form of a wood energy grant. It now produces more than 400 kg of briquettes an hour, and thanks to the high level of automation, no additional staff are required to run it.
The installation itself was remarkably trouble-free. The company was able to purchase a turn-key installation, meaning the press was brought up to full functionality by the supplier, saving Southern Pine the time and trouble of having to learn the build and assembly itself. It was delivered on time and budget, with the first briquettes produced in July 2008.
C.F. Nielsen offers various solutions, if you wish to read specifically about the MDF solution, click the button below on the left.
To see the specific Southern Pine Products case, click the button below.
Developing a win-win relationship
It didn’t take the company long to find a customer for its newest product. Moffatts Flower Company, a greenhouse complex based only 5 km from Southern Pine, now buys the briquettes and uses them as one of its staple fuels.
“Straight away we were getting a $14,000 to $18,000 per month saving in disposal costs. But then to implement this and turn it into a revenue stream has been fantastic– it’s a textbook win-win situation,” says Mr. Taylor. Moffats Flower Company Managing Director Steve Moffatt, says the briquettes make excellent fuel, being bone dry a with very high energy content.
“It’s improved our carbon footprint dramatically,” he says. Moffatts Flowers has 2 ha of greenhouse complex to heat. the company buys all the briquettes Southern Pine produces, which provides around 10% of its total fuel needs. Ideally they would like more – Mr Moffatt says he can’t imagine a time when they wouldn’t buy as much briquette fuel as southern Pine can supply. There’s nothing to stop other small wood processors setting up similar relationships with greenhouse businesses says Mr. Moffatt – provided the fuel produced is made from low-formaldehyde MDF.
The saving in Southern Pine's waste disposal costs is projected to be $180,000 a year, and annual revenue from the briquettes is projected to be in the region of $25,000 at current production levels. This means the press will be paying for itself in less than two years.
Another important, albeit less tangible, benefit is in brand value. Already positiones as a 'green' industry player, Mr. Taylor believes the scrutiny Southern Pine applies to every aspect of its business is helping to differentiate it from competitors. " I think that consciousness is growing in the market, for green products and processes. If we can produce something that’s eco-friendly, with no cost differential, people are increasingly inclined to go for the product with better environmental credentials.”Opportunities for growth
The company’s ethos of continuous improvement means it’s scouting for further options to gain value from its asset. “There’s plenty of excess capacity in the machine we’ve got. We’re looking at other options which could involve increasing our use of MDF waste, or producing other products.”
One potential avenue is to forge relationships with kitchen or other furniture manufacturers, who use large quantities of MdF but have no means of disposing of the dust other than landfill (with all the associated costs). Southern Pine could potentially contract process MDF dust from such companies to produce more briquettes, helping suppliers to reduce costs, increase revenue and lessen their environmental impact in one fell swoop.
Finding synergies essential
As far as Mr taylor is concerned, keeping an eye out for potential efficiencies and the all-important ‘win-win’ scenario, is at the heart of being an environmentally aware operator.
“Our view as a company is that it needs to be end to end. And the only way to do that is to look out for those synergies and build those relationships.” With increasing awareness of the cost and fragility of energy supply, Mr. Taylor sees the demand for wood energy among commercial and industrial users increasing. “Nationally there’s far more awareness amongst businesses about energy use, both from an environmental and a pure cost perspective. Renewable options like wood energy have to be looked at and I think will be on the table as a viable option far more than has traditionally been the case.”
Turn waste into value
Revenue from briquettes sold
Higher quality, carbon neutral fuel
Higher calorific value compared to firewood
Decreases the volume of waste
Esben M. Vestergaard Regional Sales Manager
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