Amaron Energy to demonstrate pyrolysis process at Wash. DNR event

By Erin Voegele | September 05, 2014

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has announced it is sponsoring a demonstration of Amaron Energy’s 20-ton-per-day pyrolysis unit in October. During the event, the mobile unit will demonstrate the conversion of woody biomass into oil, char and syngas. According to information released by the DNR, wood biomass will be converted into approximately 1,000 gallons of oil and 2 tons of char during the event. 

The demonstration is scheduled for Oct. 22-23 in Cle Elum, Washington, a community approximately 80 miles southeast of Seattle. The event will be held at the Willis Enterprise Chip Plant. Public tours are planned to be held from 10 a.m.-noon and noon-2:00 p.m. each day.

Amaron Energy’s process was among the pyrolysis technologies showcased during a mobile pyrolysis demonstration earlier this year.  That event featured finalists selected through a request for proposals issued by the Washington DNR in January. Of those finalists, Amaron Energy’s technology was selected to be demonstrated at the October event. 

The pyrolysis unit demonstrated by Amaron Energy in October is a 24 inch diameter rotary kiln that will be mounted in a 40 foot storage container. The commercial-scale unit can consume about 1,500 tons of feedstock per hour. Chuck Hersey, a forest health specialist with the Washington DNR, said the demonstration scale unit featured during the June event consumed approximately 20 pounds of feedstock per hour.

Apart from the unit’s size, Hersey said the other main different with the upcoming demonstration is that wood chips from fuel reduction thinnings sourced from a nearby residential community will be used as feedstock. “There is a lot of low-grade woody biomass in eastern Washington that is a severe fire hazard with no markets for its use.  This demonstration will highlight one potential use of all those small diameter trees with pyrolysis,” he said. “The previous demo used planner shavings from a mill.”

Hersey estimates that approximately 1,000 gallons of oil will be generated during the demonstration. He said the DNR is willing to make some of that oil available for research, testing or commercial use. Parties interested in obtaining a sample are encouraged to contact Hersey.

While the event is free, space is limited. Attendees are encouraged to register early. Additional information on the event is available by contacting Hersey at chuck.hersey(at)dnr.wa.gov.