The Forestry Forum is sponsored in part by:

iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Forestry Forum
Sponsored by:


TimberKing Sawmills



Toll Free 1-800-582-0470

LogRite Tools



Norwood Industries Inc.




Your source for Portable Sawmills, Edgers, Resaws, Sharpeners, Setters, Bandsaw Blades and Sawmill Parts

EZ Boardwalk Sawmills. More Saw For Less Money!

STIHLDealers.com sponsored by Northeast STIHL


Woodland Sawmills

Peterson Swingmills

 KASCO SharpTech WoodMaxx Blades

Turbosawmill

Sawmill Exchange

Michigan Firewood, your BRUTE FORCE Authorized Dealer

FARMA


Council Tool

Baker Products

ECHO-Bearcat

iDRY Wood Lumber Vacuum Drying for everyon

Baltic Abrasives Technologies Nyle Kiln Dry Systems




Author Topic: Woody Biomass Demand Update  (Read 8795 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gary_C

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 6285
  • Age: 76
  • Location: Blooming Prairie, MN USA
  • Gender: Male
  • Sunrise on the Prairie
    • Share Post
Woody Biomass Demand Update
« on: May 19, 2008, 12:10:29 AM »
The Minnesota DNR publishes a news letter called "The Market Place" and the Spring 2008 issue has an update on biomass demand. You can read the entire issue here:
http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/forestry/marketplace/marketplace_Spring2008.pdf
Note there are also instructions where you can have the pdf emailed to you every quarter.

There is also a link to a new Minnesota Wood Industry Website here:
http://forest.nrri.umn.edu

One of the large users of wood chips is now the District Energy plant in St. Paul that is using 40 loads of chips per day or 14,000 semi loads per year to provide hot water heat to downtown buildings.

Other plants being built are wood pellet plants and a new energy plant.

So you loggers may need to start looking for chippers.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Ron Scott

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8022
  • Age: 83
  • Location: Cadillac, MI
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2008, 09:44:53 AM »
The logger's here have been parking their chippers due to the high fuel costs. Of course we don't have that kind of chip demand either.
~Ron

Offline woodmills1

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 5184
  • Age: 67
  • Location: Hudson, NH
  • Gender: Male
  • the truth shall set you free
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 09:29:20 PM »
chips are the driving force out here.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline PAFaller

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 344
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Central PA
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
    • Berndtson Timber Management
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 11:09:29 PM »
Wish there was something like that in PA. Too many gypsies doing firewood, scrap
markets are tight, heck we leave most of our tops and low grade in the woods. I
started logging in NH and Maine and know all about the chipping scene.  Its nice to have
it to fall back on, I never viewed it as a huge money maker but if you can chip enough
to pay your fuel bill for all your equipment every week you are doing pretty good. Plus
its one more thing to have lined up on a day to rainy to chop or skid.
It ain't easy...

Offline Rocky_Ranger

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 537
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Booneville Arkansas
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 11:44:58 AM »
When will it be that most tops and limbs make their way to a chipper and onto a conversion of some kind into energy?  Sure looks like the time is right, pellets are going crazy - 'course ever Tom, Dick, and Mary (used to be Harry but you know....) is getting into the milling process.  Down here it costs so much to fire brooders or heaters for chicken houses that there is a new pellet stove made for broiler (eating chicken) houses to heat for them.  I haven't heard what the offsetting cost is but LP at $2.65/gal it won't take long to make one pay out.  Chips are still moving well in first thinnings, landing slash, tops and limbs from the pull throughs are just being drug back into the planatations...
RETIRED!

Offline Gary_C

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 6285
  • Age: 76
  • Location: Blooming Prairie, MN USA
  • Gender: Male
  • Sunrise on the Prairie
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 10:33:07 PM »
When will it be that most tops and limbs make their way to a chipper and onto a conversion of some kind into energy?  Sure looks like the time is right, pellets are going crazy -

That's the $64 question. There is no doubt the demand is up significantly, the only problem is most potential users claim they can't afford to pay for the hauling, let alone the cost of the product. And clearly the pulp and paper mills are nervous about this demand for fibre forcing up the prices for all pulp.

And how many loggers have the volume to afford a machine to chip\bundle their biomass let alone the fuel costs for one of those beasts?

I sure don't know where this biomass thing is headed.  ???
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28413
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • Share Post
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 11:27:16 PM »
I don't either, Gary.  Trying to chip tops and limbs is too low volume for the capital invested in the machines to chip it.  To get the production to make it work, you will have to chip wood, not just tops.  We will see what happens :).
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Rocky_Ranger

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 537
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Booneville Arkansas
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2008, 09:11:49 AM »
I can see the economics of stand alone chipping of tops not making any money, but how about as an "add on" piece that might pay for fuel.  The skidders have to take the turns of limbs and tops back out into the plantation or pile em up at the landing.  Having a loader dump them into a tub grinder and onto a chip truck saves a turn on the skidder and might make some "rattling change".......
RETIRED!

Offline Gary_C

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 6285
  • Age: 76
  • Location: Blooming Prairie, MN USA
  • Gender: Male
  • Sunrise on the Prairie
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2008, 09:56:21 AM »
The skidders have to take the turns of limbs and tops back out into the plantation or pile em up at the landing.  Having a loader dump them into a tub grinder and onto a chip truck saves a turn on the skidder and might make some "rattling change".......

That is already being done on jobs that are cut with feller bunchers/slashers and large grapple skidders. They leave the tops at the landing and bring in a chipper or tub grinder and make boiler fuel. The loggers that did that were all in a marketing coop and one of the members had a chipper that was used on all the members sites. Problem was it would net very little at the prices the mill paid for boiler fuel and the coop fell apart when the mills cut back and the members fought among themselves over the remaining quota. I went to a demo last spring and took these pictures of that type of operation.

 

 

 



So the problem is with the very low returns now, if the pay prices do not increase significantly, there is no incentive to buy this expensive equipment. Plus the landowners are thinking big bucks to allow someone to remove the biomass. The MN DNR has already started a charge on some jobs for biomass chipping.

So unless some things change, this biomass thing is going nowhere that I can see.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Rocky_Ranger

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 537
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Booneville Arkansas
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2008, 12:26:16 PM »
Great shots of the operation!  But, yep, I agree with ya until the price offsets the costs it'll only be done on small scale.  My point/interest is what does it take or how much does the pay rate have to be before it gets profitable?  If someone can figure out a way to make 20 dollar bills slide along that conveyor things'll pick up. ;D
RETIRED!

Offline Greg

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 379
  • Location: SW Ohio
  • Gender: Male
  • Hi mom!
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2008, 12:42:44 PM »
Can someone closer to the reality, answer some basic questions about wood chips used as boiler fuel?

What amount of processing, by that I mean screening, drying, bagging etc. is necessary to produce acceptable boiler fuel.

Another reason I see chips as not terribly viable is the cost of drying them, esp if they come from green wood. I'd assume the chips are somehow kiln or air dried or else they'd either mold or even self combust??? Anybody got numbers on these costs.

It seems by the time woody biomass is usable for fuel, you'd put more energy (and dollars) into the material (due to chipping, shipping, drying, bulk handling, etc) than the consumer could get out by burning it.

In other words a net energy loss. Even if you ignore for the moment the expensive equipment/profitability issue, this doesn't seem a wise direction.

Thanks for educating me,
Greg

Offline Gary_C

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 6285
  • Age: 76
  • Location: Blooming Prairie, MN USA
  • Gender: Male
  • Sunrise on the Prairie
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2008, 01:15:08 PM »
Greg

As far as I learned, there is no screening, drying, or bagging done on the boiler fuel. Sappi, a paper mill was the biggest buyer of these wet chips and they just stacked them for some time and sorta composted them so they would burn better. Perhaps turned them for better fermentation or to stop heating in the pile.

As far as what they are worth, good luck on finding that information. Those buyers of chips and boiler fuel consider that as very proprietary information and do not divulge any numbers. I know of one large operator who has a chipper anyway that refused to haul any chips to one buyer because they refused to even pay for trucking, and then later he started hauling to that same company. Never would say what was the new price.

The fuel for comparison in these boilers is coal and we were told that most long term coal contracts are now expiring. So the cost of coal is sure to go up, but again nobody will talk numbers.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Greg

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 379
  • Location: SW Ohio
  • Gender: Male
  • Hi mom!
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2008, 02:26:17 PM »
I can understand the reluctance for folks to publish hard numbers, especially if someone figured out ways to it profitably! Just looking for some general data/experience.

I just know there is a pretty substantial difference in BTU for green vs. seasoned firewood, so I guess I (incorrectly) assumed the boiler fuel chips had to be dried as well. What you say make sense, perhaps by simple fermentation and the subsequent heat generated, that alone removes enough moisture to create useful fuel material.

My interest is not at the industrial level, but rather thinking about some low cost, low tech ways to take advantage of all the chip waste for my smaller residential/shop situation. I see many, many full trucks of chips around here generated by tree service cos, but to a much larger degree, utility company line clearing crews who always seem to be looking for a place to dump their load.

In order for me to do anything worthwhile at this tiny scale, I'd have to have access to free material. But there seems to be a somewhat ample supply of it (for now) ;D

Thanks,
Greg


Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28413
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • Share Post
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2008, 07:06:46 PM »
Most all boiler fuel is hogged (pulverized) so that it can be burned on a fluidized air moving grate in a power boiler.  I worked in the Power and Recovery Unit in a large Pulp mill for several years.  Power was generated via 900 psi steam thru a 35 megawatt turbine generator.  The boiler fuel was bark and sawdust from sawmill residues.  It was all hogged to a fine consistency.  The way most power boilers are operated, the chips would have to be hogged to burn the way the boilers are traditionally designed.  Also, we burned wood sawdust and bark that was green from the tree.  If it was too dry, it would result in uncontrolled burning in suspension rather than on the moving fluidized grate. 

The fact of the matter is that there was enough residue available at less than half the cost of chips so that it was not necessary and in fact much more expensive to burn chips.  It is a market thing.  Pulpmills set the price for chips to make pulp.  Chips are much more expensive than the sawmill residues used for boiler fuel.  The only thing that will change that is demand.  Right now, the demand is not there to drive up the price of residues.  I am sure it will happen, but it is probably 5 years away.  Then, and only then will it become economical.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Clark

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 776
  • Location: Duluth, MN
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2008, 11:15:12 PM »
I worked at the former Stora Enso mill in Wisconsin Rapids, WI for a bit.  The rough estimate in comparing coal vs. bark for power production was 1 ton of coal to 2 tons of bark.  By the time the bark made it to the boiler it was pretty dry, but I was still surprised that the trade-off was that good.  I fully expected it to be more in favor of coal.

Clark
SAF Certified Forester

Offline Rocky_Ranger

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 537
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Booneville Arkansas
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2008, 10:07:04 AM »
I'm looking at a study I'm sort of associated with - or used to be anyway, showing a break even price of $32.00/ton of delivered biomass at 50% MC.  That is based on natural gas prices of $10.92/MMBtu's.  I haven't priced lately on gas to see how that is holding up.  National Renwable Energy Lab out of Golden/Wheatridge are up with some details, as are some private firms that carry proprietary informaton that's hard to get a hold of.......  We're closing in on profitability of biomass, $150/barrel oil will help grease the skids...
RETIRED!

Offline Greg

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 379
  • Location: SW Ohio
  • Gender: Male
  • Hi mom!
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2008, 11:11:43 AM »
Good information guys, thanks for sharing.

I learned something pretty important already, that mill produced boiler fuel is pulverized - a very fine mix of dust, bark, etc.

That is clearly not the same as the shredded, mulch like material that comes out of the end of the chipper! Kinda important. Doh :D You can probably tell I sit behind a desk way too much...

The question now (in my head) is what equipment/burners, if any, are capable of dealing with the larger chipper material, as opposed the much finer hogged stuff. Additional processing of chips to dust would just add cost and complication.

I was envisioning a hopper like system that would slowly feed semi dry chips into a burning chamber (kinda like pellets) for a boiler, with a good size tank to store the heat when needed (for hot water, heating) etc.

As far as comparison of biomass to coal, I'd think the numbers might improve if it were practical to squeeze a good bit of moisture out of those chips first. My "profitability" measure is comparison to #heating oil, which is basicially diesel, or near $5 a gallon  :o.  Another factor is volume, I don't know if its practical in a residential/shop situation to have to move around a huge amount of this material in order to get a useful amount of BTUs out.

To be practical for me it would need to work similar to a pellet loader, I'd think. I think for those you can just add a load to the hopper once or twice a twice day. Obviously the chips would be alot less dense and take up more space.

Maybe this is a no brainer and somebody's already doing exactly this. Just seems ashame to be dumping trucks and trucks of chips on the ground, when people (like me) are paying out their noses for heating oil. I doubt it, most of my ideas, people look at me like I have three heads. Oh well, fun to think about.

Greg


Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28413
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • Share Post
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2008, 04:47:37 PM »
One of the problems is that there is no infrastructure to capture woody debris that is throw-away to a land fill.  If there was a way to collect biomass like garbage and concentrate it for processing, I believe that a market for it would develop.  We need LEADERSHIP!

That is what is most lacking at this point in time.  Without a strong advocate high up in the political system, it is too risky for a private entrepreneur to tackle. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Ron Wenrich

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 13805
  • Age: 70
  • Location: Jonestown, PA
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2008, 05:05:59 PM »
Chips are a little harder to handle than finer dust, and the dust will dry a lot quicker due to surface/mass.  The finer dust can easily be blown.

The problem with many stand alone projects is you need something to do with the trash steam.  Those co-gen projects work out pretty well.  I even had a few inquiries about burning sawdust at a hospital.  They would have needed 10,000 tons/year, if I remember correctly.  We could compete against $1/gal fuel oil at the time and city made steam.

I'm not sure if the PURPA conditions are still in effect.  Back in the '80s, the power company had to buy the electric from a producer at their production cost rate.  We put a 25 Meg plant in with a buyback rate of 8.9.  We bought a combination of dust and chips from mills and some whole tree chip for $12/ton. Trash steam was sold to a food processor.

These things work, but you need to be able to do lots of leg work.  The other thing needed is investment capital.  I spent many nights talking to bankers about the wood business and how we could guarantee enough product to make the project fly.  I also had to do a resource analysis and locate enough chips and dust.  The project was put in and is still running after all these years.

It took us about 3 years just to get all the analysis, planning, and permits before we got anything going.

Right now, we have too much electricity production in my area.  Several nuclear plants, lots of culm plants, a few trash to steam generators, and several gas fired that are all stand alone projects.  That would make the buyback rate fairly low.  I know the last time I talked to anyone at the electric company about buybacks they said they weren't interested.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Rocky_Ranger

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 537
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Booneville Arkansas
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Woody Biomass Demand Update
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2008, 09:00:43 AM »
Ron what's a culm plant? 

Canon City CO has done some chip burning with their coal powered plant and found a better return than expected.  Just like the wind power discussion on the "General" page it will take all kinds of notions and different technologies to wean ourselves toward energy independence.   
RETIRED!


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via pinterest Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via tumblr Share via twitter

xx
Woody Biomass Seminar

Started by beenthere on Alternative methods and solutions

3 Replies
1235 Views
Last post April 16, 2009, 10:27:25 PM
by beenthere
xx
Woody Biomass Harvesting

Started by Gary_C on Forestry and Logging

31 Replies
8584 Views
Last post April 07, 2009, 10:10:09 PM
by WH_Conley
xx
Woody Biomass/Timber Harvesting and Processing Exposition

Started by Gary_C on Shows, Events and Places to meet

0 Replies
1187 Views
Last post August 08, 2009, 01:22:02 PM
by Gary_C
xx
BioMax biomass gasifier at Southern Utah Biomass field day

Started by LanceUT on Alternative methods and solutions

2 Replies
2172 Views
Last post July 12, 2011, 08:26:30 AM
by LanceUT
 


Powered by EzPortal