Brazil company develops biomass dryer technology

By Jessica Ebert
Swiss Group of Companies in Brazil recently announced the development of biomass drying technology that uses electromagnetic radiation. Edda Silvestro, Italian entrepreneur and Swiss Group president, created the concept for the new device, and over the past two years, a team of Brazilian engineers and technicians have worked to construct the dryer, which Silvestro called a "revolutionary invention."

The dryer works by exposing biomass to electromagnetic rays, which disturb the molecular structure of the biomass, resulting in loss of water. "A dryer using electromagnetic radiation does not need high temperature," Silvestro explained. "It acts by simple molecular agitation, so the rays only remove water but not the inner hydrocarbons of the wood, which are extremely energetic."

In early 2008, Swiss Group will start to build its first plant devoted to the production of wood chips and pellets from eucalyptus and pine using its patented drying method. The plant will be located in Jambeiro, Brazil, about 56 miles from São Paulo and about 62 miles from the port of São Sebastião. It will consist of five modules producing 200 tons of wood chips per hour. The company has already agreed to supply this alternative power source to various European electric plants, Silvestro said.