Feedstock and Material Handling

By Ron Kotrba | April 27, 2012

Welcome to the feedstock and material handling issue of Biorefining Magazine. For years, researchers and industry personnel have been working to devise how to transport biomass from the field or forest to the plant gate in the most cost-effective, efficient manner possible. Featured articles in this issue address these concerns in two very different ways: disposing of the issue altogether by contracting with biomass sugar providers who supply preprocessed six- and/or five-carbon sugars; and developing a sophisticated model with hundreds of thousands of variables, letting the computational power of today’s information technology take the guess work out of analyzing the best approaches.

But what about once the material is at the biorefinery gate? This is where receiving and conveying takes over. Yuri Chocholko, the North American sales manager for wood, biomass and fuels at Vecoplan LLC, authors this month’s Talking Point column, “Biomass Material Handling,” in which he highlights the four main areas of handling biomass.

“Conveying may seem like a simple operation of getting from point A to B, but it can be a continual problem area in biomass processing operations,” Chocholko writes. “The answers gained during characterization will govern many decisions here. Distance, angle and throughput are all obvious questions that must be asked. Conveyor type, style and maintenance needs must also be considered.”

These are just a few of the aspects Chocholko says must be addressed when designing a material handling system inside the plant. Read the entire column on page 7.