Mobile bio-oil system processes wastes

By Lisa Gibson
Posted February 4, 2010, at 12:15 p.m. CST

The Modular Bio-Oil Plant, manufactured by Three Seconds to Oil LLC, can process about 25 dry tons of biomass every day and can produce about 1 million gallons of oil per year, along with 1,400 tons of char.

The system, which measures 8 feet wide, 40 feet long and 9 1/2 feet tall, can take all types of biomass up to 70 percent moisture, according to Henry Maclin, CEO of TSTO. The machinery, designed by John Tharpe, uses pyrolysis and is engineered for automation, portability, self cleaning and long life.

The commercial units have just come to market, Maclin said, but two have already been sold. In addition, more potential customers are preparing to make their decision after seeing the commercial unit's performance during endurance tests, according to Maclin. The market for the system is waste producers such as equine, swine and bovine operations, green waste producers such as road right of way maintainers, invasive tree and brush control and disaster cleanup organizations. "When the MBOP is used to convert biomass contaminated with animal or human solid waste into a liquid fuel, it can reduce the disposal cost of the waste to zero," Maclin said.

Other markets such as remote or large electricity users have expressed interest in the MBOP, Maclin said, and on-site efficient diesel generators using pyrolysis oil could realize a substantial cost savings with the system.

The MBOP costs $2.4 million, but TSTO will work with customers on a case-by-case basis to finance the purchase. The useful life of the MBOP, along with the warranty and maintenance period, is 10 years.