Biomass systems from Vecoplan process and prepare all types of lignocellulosic biomass to be used as fuel. Biomass refers to all organic matter, or in other words, the material that all plants and animals, living or dead, are made-up of. Lignocellulose, composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, is the technical term for plant matter. Since plants live and grow they are, by nature, a renewable resource. Wood has been, and continues to be, the most common type of renewable biomass utilized as fuel, but virtually all biomass can be used to generate energy. Vecoplan mechanical preparation systems maximize the effective and efficient reclamation of energy from any lignocellulosic biomass feedstock.
In addition to harvested wood and forestry residues, these feedstocks include energy crops and agricultural residues, as well as biowaste found in commercial, industrial and consumer waste streams. Vecoplan has built systems that process all of these biomass feedstocks. These systems range from simple to sophisticated. It depends on the composition of the biomass fed into the system and the type of fuel that it is being converted to. Conversion of biomass to biofuel is achieved by methods broadly classified as: thermal, chemical and biochemical. Vecoplan has experience building feedstock prep systems for all of these biofuel conversion methods.
One example of a straightforward thermal application is wood used to fire or co-fire a boiler via direct combustion. A system for this type of application only requires a gathering area for the wood, a means to get it into a machine for sizing, and a method to transport the sized wood to the boiler furnace, or put another way, a receiving station, a conveyor, a chipper, grinder or shredder, and another conveyor. Vecoplan systems of this type are perfect in “closed loop” situations such as sawmills or lumber mills that burn their own wood waste to heat and power their plant. Referred to as cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP), the biomass combustion produces heat to boil water, producing steam, which turns a turbine that produces electricity.
However, because of its high moisture content, green wood doesn’t store well for extended periods and has a low energy density making it inefficient to transport over long distances. Drying, grinding and pressing biomass into pellets solves these problems. Pelletizing is another thermal method of using biomass as a biofuel. Vecoplan is experienced in systems that process various feedstocks for both small and large pellet production plants.
Applications involving other types of biomass, mixed biomass or biomass containing “tramp” materials require additional processing steps and machinery. Vecoplan has the expertise and the machinery to meet these needs. Vecoplan systems operate in municipal facilities for the production of liquid transportation fuels from the biomass residuals left after MSW (municipal solid waste) has been processed through a material recovery facility (MRF), and all practicable recyclables have been recovered. This type of system requires sophisticated sorting, separation and screening technologies in order to produce the correct feedstock for the specific gasification conversion process being implemented.