Drying Biomass With Waste Heat Fuel

wood chips as biomass
The less energy it takes to dry biomass, the greater the net energy gain.
(cc) Asea

Svensk Rökgasenergi (SRE) a subsidiary of Opcon AB, the energy and environmental technology Group, is now launching a new highly efficient drying system for biomass with considerable environmental benefits. The technology that combines SRE’s existing products within flue gas condensation in a new way with SRE’s new low temperature dryer Renergi LTD, can utilize waste heat as “fuel”. The system does not need more than 1 MWh of low-temperature heat to remove approx. 2.2 tonnes of water. At the same time, it easily manages to dry biomass with 55 percent moisture content, for example sawdust, down to a moisture content of 10 percent, which is well-suited for production of pellets.

“This is very efficient in comparison to what is available on the market today, where steam dryers have been the most efficient up to now. However, the steam dryers simultaneously require high temperatures as well as primary energy as they drive out about 1.5 tonnes water/MWh. With our new drying system, we not only drive out more water per MWh, we can also utilize waste heat to do it, which reduces fuel consumption dramatically. It will have a direct impact on the customer’s finances as well as on the environment”, says Lennart Granstrand, founder and head of development, SRE.

The environmental benefits associated with SRE’s new drying system do not just include lower fuel consumption and the use of waste heat. With the low temperatures used, the system also offers sharply reduced emissions of hydrocarbons compared with conventional drying systems. The low temperatures used in the drying also mean increased safety and less risk for industrial injuries.

“In the USA as well as in several countries in Central Europe there are strict restrictions surrounding hydrocarbon emissions that imply costly extra investments and measures for sawmills and others, which further strengthens the economic incentives for our system”, says Lennart Granstrand, founder and head of development, SRE.

Currently, SRE has customers in 10 countries and last year secured its first order in North America (Canada). As part of Opcon’s stated internationalisation strategy, we are now also making an effort to penetrate the USA and several countries in Europe.

“We anticipate continued strong growth within bioenergy, not least internationally. With the major customer benefits that we can offer both economically and environmentally, we have great expectations for this dryer system going forward”, says Rolf Hasselström, President and CEO of Opcon AB.

“With the acquisition of Saxlund, which is expected to be finalized within a week, we also anticipate an extremely strong international project organisation, while at the same time, we can increasingly offer complete solutions to the customer. In this, our new drying system will be an important component,” says Rolf Hasselström, President and CEO of Opcon AB.

Opcon is an energy and environmental technology Group that develops, produces and markets systems and products for eco-friendly, efficient and resource-effective use of energy.

Opcon has operations in Sweden, China and Denmark. There are around 340 employees. The company’s shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. The Group’s Renewable Energy division focuses on generating electricity from surplus heat, bioenergy, systems for handling natural gas, industrial cooling, heat recovery, drying of biomass, cleaning of flue gases, air systems for fuel cells and measurement and monitoring of processes.

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