Crews stock pile the raw material quickly with the 818.
The year-old AC Global Energy (ACGE) plant near Knoxville, Tenn., is a new production facility designed to convert biomass into drop-in the tank fuel. As one of the first commercial application of new "clean energy" technology, the facility was developed as a turnkey operation for ACGE to process locally harvested pulpwood into energy products.
At the front end of the process is a log-loading station that receives truckloads of wood to be fed into a primary chipper. In the center of the loading station is a purpose-built Sennebogen 818 M rubber-tired log-loader, which unloads and stacks the wood, then feeds it to a Laimet helical chipper. The wood chips go through secondary processing before entering a patented CHyP (cellulose to hydrogen process) reactor for conversion into a hydrogen-rich synthetic gas.
"Clean Energy" for Diesel and Electrical Power
ACGE is a Singapore-based development company specializing in "clean energy" projects. According to John Borden, ACGE's business development manager in North America, the Knoxville plant is just the first of multiple sites that the company foresees for other nearby centers in the future.
"The system is highly scalable, but it's also economical for smaller production sites, too," Borden said. "Any location with a good supply of biomass nearby can put this technology to work economically."
As the Knoxville operation ramps up in 2018, Borden expects to see it processing as much as 500 tons of wood per day and output up to 7 million gal. of drop-in the tank diesel annually. Secondary streams produce marketable co-products including wood vinegar and premium bio-char.
Versatile Loading for Start-Up Project
The Sennebogen 818 M provides ACGE with a versatile, purpose-built machine that can handle multiple duties as the operation works up to full capacity.
"We considered installing a more traditional stationary loader near the feed deck," said Borden. "But we decided that a rubber-tired log loader would give us more flexibility. We equipped it with a Timber Grab SGH rotary log grapple to load the incoming wood. We also have an orange peel attachment that the 818 M can use to transfer chips. We receive some of our biomass as chips, instead of logs, so the 818 M is always ready to handle those loads as well as feeding chips into the next stage of the process. It's even strong enough to pull a decent size log trailer.
"Always the Leader"
Borden is very familiar with the end-to-end process, having worked the pilot team for four years.
"For our loading applications, Sennebogen was always the leader, in my mind. We did our due diligence on other machines, but I saw Sennebogen's aftersales capabilities in Stanley, N.C., and that was a key factor for us. The head office, parts warehouse and training center are very impressive.
"Our operators like the 818 very much, too. It handles very well, and the elevating cab gives them a very direct look into the trucks they're unloading. The first few trucks were taking longer to unload but, with some experience now, we're down to about 15 minutes per truck.
"I will definitely be looking to Sennebogen again when we're ready to open our next plant. We're very happy with the service from their distributor here, PowerEquipment. Once the CHyP process and the rest of this operation is fully verified, we will be set to repeat the program in new locations."