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A Helping Hand from the Top

President Trump Surveys Wildfire Destruction in California
President Trump Surveys Wildfire Destruction in California

It is often a painful disaster that brings awareness to an ongoing plight which has been recognized and acknowledged as a source of concern for many years yet remained in the shadows of public awareness, if not even downplayed by some. On the last day of year 2018, horrified by deadly wildfires, President Trump signed an executive order heralded by almost everyone in forest management on how funding certain measures will mitigate future wildfires and rehabilitate devasted forests. It is named “Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands and other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk”.

The order is long and detailed, and sections of it read as if they were taken from Air Burners’ playbook: support forest fuels management for forest fire mitigation, create defensible zones between homes, businesses, public facilities and the woodlands, and clean up the forest from dead trees by prudent post-fire cleanup measures, forest rehabilitation and removal of invasive species. Finally, collecting the debris and eliminating it on-site in Air Burners FireBox machines!

This is not a new idea at all, but suddenly embodying all these measures in a presidential executive order coming from the White House, puts it in the national spotlight although even that appears to have been mainly ignored by most of the mainstream media, save for specialty outlets with a direct focus on forestry, environment and biomass related issues.

It was at the very beginning of this century when Air Burners was approached by the US Forest Service San Dimas Technology and Development Center in San Dimas, California to put the focus on Air Burners’ Air Curtain Burner Systems as an essential tool for forest fuels management. Tests were carried out at a 9,000-foot-high landing near Baker City, Oregon, where Air Burners deployed one of its burn-boxes to support the project. The USDA Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula, Montana, supported the project and analyzed collected test data.

This lead to the Government’s publishing of a couple of often cited 2002 reports referred to as the Alan Shapiro “Tech Tip: The Use of Air Curtain Destructors for Fuel Reduction” from San Dimas and the Ron Babbit ”Reducing PM2.5 Emissions Through Technology” report, from Missoula. These reports have been quoted by countless permitting agencies in support of the use of our air curtain burners and have been further substantiated by additional elaborate tests conducted by various government agencies, including the US-EPA and Australian EPA.This lead to the Government’s publishing of a couple of often cited 2002 reports referred to as the Alan Shapiro “Tech Tip: The Use of Air Curtain Destructors for Fuel Reduction” from San Dimas and the Ron Babbit ”Reducing PM2.5 Emissions Through Technology” report, from Missoula. These reports have been quoted by countless permitting agencies in support of the use of our air curtain burners and have been further substantiated by additional elaborate tests conducted by various government agencies, including the US-EPA and Australian EPA.

Air Burners Model S-327 in Full Operation at a Wood Waste Collection Site
Air Burners Model S-327 in Full Operation at a Wood Waste Collection Site

As is usually the case, funding is an issue, especially for budget items that seem not to produce anything but are earmarked to prevent events that could possibly occur, but then may not occur. Many times, we have seen attempts by local government authorities to acquire FireBoxes for forest fuels management or disaster recovery that have not been fruitful, because of lack of money. Also, much too often those that favored chipping and grinding the collected wood waste residue have prevailed, sadly, because that process is more lucrative to some hired private contractors, as chipping is not a waste elimination process. FireBox burning completely eliminates the waste. Grinding it into mulch is merely an interim step to make transportation simpler to some distant dumping ground. Of course, this adds two additional profit centers for the contractors – all at the expense of taxpayers.

We are very pleased that pursuant to the President’s executive order, funding will be provided to governmental bodies on all levels, including local and tribal.

We are very pleased that pursuant to the President’s executive order, funding will be provided to governmental bodies on all levels, including local and tribal. Supported by federal and state forest service and fire suppression agencies, the local authorities know best how to tackle their area wildfire mitigation problems. With adequate funding they are bound to be successful in avoiding wildfires and will carry out fruitful post-fire cleanup and rebuilding where needed.

California has been very instrumental in paving the way for the use of air curtain burn-boxes to mitigate wildfires and, laudably, CALFIRE has long embraced the FireBoxes as essential tools in its assessment of what works to get the job done. CALFIRE’s efforts have certainly helped to minimize the detrimental effect of recent wildfire seasons, however devastating the aftermath. California’s open-minded posture has also helped pave the way for our FireBoxes to play an important role in replacing open pile burning of agricultural waste material in addition to supporting forest waste reduction.

Although Air Burners has perfected its machines for efficient and environmentally friendly wood waste disposal, it is now well known that we have not stopped there. Our revolutionary Biomass-to-Energy conversion systems, the PGFireBox® that far outpaces all others on the biomass-to-energy market, will likely be a focal point for government agencies tasked with getting rid of the millions of dead trees in Western forests. Additionally, all the slash collected from fuels management missions can be converted to electric and thermal energy by the portable, easy to relocate PGFireBox® systems, now that reasonable funding support can be expected from the Federal Government. Placing the PGFireBox® near where the wood waste is amassed will eliminate the cost of traditional grinding, trucking and landfilling and will further augment the cost savings.

We at Air Burners are prepared to meet the challenge that is likely coming our way, and applaud the President for his thoughtful and prudent decision to issue the Forest Management Executive Order to help the people that the Government serves, not those who time and again favor the status quo for their own gain – monetarily, philosophically, or to impose their own world-view.

Air Burner Website Tailored for Australia Debuts at airburners.com.au

Air Burners has shipped its air curtain FireBoxes to Australia for many years. Most of our machines are used in the eastern states on the Pacific Coast side, but they can be found in Western Australia as well. The Australian market for Air Burners systems very much resembles the US market. Hence, the attention that we have given that continent. Australians have a keen interest in waste recycling and forest and agricultural land management. As are we, they are concerned with global warming and the forcers of it that can be managed, such as smoke (PM or black carbon), CO2, and toxic emissions from incomplete hydrocarbon fuel combustion. Methane from decomposing organic waste is another concern. The country with its vast forests, shrub lands and savannas is also constantly battling wildfires, or bushfires as they call them there. You can read more about wildfires at our Blog Resource.

As our air curtain FireBoxes are one of the essential and most suitable tools for strategies to mitigate forest fires and to rehabilitate lands in postfire cleanup projects, the theme of our Australian website is bushfires and the role of FireBoxes with respect thereto. The website includes plenty of technical information on our machines and highlights the PGF FireBox, the innovative system that converts part of the energy from the wood waste combustion into electricity and thermal energy for practical applications, like onsite kiln drying. Links to our main website allow the Australian visitor to quickly garner more detailed information on our company and its products, if desired.

The fact that our focus is presently on bushfires and forest fuels management does not mean that we are downplaying the deployment of FireBoxes for other applications in Australia, that is to the contrary. In agricultural industries, for example, vineyards in South Australia, the largest wine production region in the country, but also in all the other states and Tasmania, would benefit greatly from air curtain burn boxes. Another application would be the use of FireBoxes at landfills that are hard-pressed to deal with the massive amount of wood waste coming their way since China no longer accepts wood pellets (and most other waste material) from abroad. Australian government sustainability authorities in the various states are forced to rethink many of their aggressive recycling  plans and look at the longevity and pollution controls in place at landfills and whether it is a good idea to burden them with biomass that could be utilized by energy conversion in a PGFireBox or at least eliminated more efficiently in a standard air curtain burn box with less climate forcing agent release than what is practiced throughout.

Australians have learned also, as we in the US, that many of the promising biomass-to-energy conversion technologies, like gasification, or captioning landfill methane do not work as well in real life as they do on a slide presentation or on paper, and especially not, if government subsidies and tax breaks are fading away. The downfall of most of these once promising technologies lies in the cost of preparing the biomass to be in a form and condition for energy extraction, as in grinding the waste into perfectly sized chips to be acceptable by co-gen power plants or making it into little pellets. That takes external energy, time and causes plenty of pollution and is called “pre-processing” and most of the time is ignored or misunderstood when these technologies are evaluated. Why rely on a system that needs energy from one source to make energy from another where the net gain is often questionable?

Air Burners PGF systems must deal with none of that – no preparing or “pre-processing” the biomass to turn it into energy. None – if the chunk of wood waste fits as it’s collected, it turns into heat and electric power. That fact lead to the fitting term “whole-log-burner”, and it is why the PGFireBox will stand high with success in the future where other much costlier systems of the past will rust into useless rubble.

An important Australian milestone was reached by Air Burners when the Australian EPA funded a comprehensive air emissions test of our FireBox under its auspices in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The tests were carried out under the very astute guidance of Australian Government and independent air emissions experts and state accredited laboratory technicians, and the FireBox was operated skillfully by one of our local clients. The emissions factors officially released, demonstrate the effectiveness of the proprietary design features of our FireBox systems and because of the provided government oversight, the emissions factor reports have been accepted and used by many government agencies in other countries, including the US, for their regulatory compliance assessment of our machines.

The Air Burners representative in Australia is Craig Wills. He can be reached at PH +61-417-650-414 (or 0417-650-414 locally). Australian customers who are in need of help with permitting our machines should get in touch with the factory (Contact Us) or our local representative. We have a close relationship with environmental consultants in Melbourne, VIS, one of the foremost expert companies anywhere in the field of air emissions and related air curtain burner technologies. 

Air Burners is looking forward to expanding its Australian base significantly, especially with the PGFireBox systems to help turn some of the massive quantities of timber waste that is being generated annually with few places to go into clean, costs effective renewable energy.

Air Curtain FireBox at Timber Waste Collection Site
Air Curtain FireBox at Timber Waste Collection Site

DEFENSE TECHCONNECT EXPO

Renewable Energy – Solving Title 10 US Code §2911

Air Burners was one of the many world-class exhibitors at this year’s Defense TechConnect Expo in Tampa featuring its Biomass-to-Energy PGFireBox Systems. The Department of Defense has developed performance goals and a master plan to address energy efficiency and energy reduction referred to as Title 10 US Code §2911(e). This includes on-site power generation and the employment of renewable energy sources over the next several years through 2025.

Air Burners offers a unique solution that would be attractive at military installations that have a biomass waste issue in addition to developing compliance with the mandates of Title 10 US Code §2911. The PGFireBox systems will eliminate wood waste from tree trimmings, shipping crates, pallets and possibly target material and convert the heat from the combustion process into electric and thermal energy to be utilized on site.  Current systems range from 100kW and 500kW to 1MW. For larger power requirements, multiple units could be integrated.

Military officials and industry experts alike took a keen interest in Air Burners unique approach to WTE as an extremely cost effective and simple to operate solution to the mandated goals. In contrast to all else in the field of biomass to energy conversion, the PGFireBox systems solve two pressing problems at the same time: waste reduction and renewable energy production. As depicted in the image above, the available thermal energy could be utilized for many applications, such as simply heating a maintenance shop or garage.

It was also noted that the portability of the PGFireBox which requires virtually no onsite assembly would allow quick deployment to trouble spot, including natural disasters like hurricanes. Hurricane Michael this fall inflicted serious damage to military bases in the Florida Panhandle, and readily available PGFireBox systems could have made a difference in the early phases of search and rescue and then recovery, clean-up and rebuilding.

Air Burners machines are not new to the Military. Dozens of standard FireBoxes have been shipped to bases on the US Mainland and overseas to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Read more about PGFireBox systems.

AIR BURNERS EXPANDS FIREBOX LINE

Air Burners Flagship FireBox Model S-327 has been increased in length by a few feet to yield a new Model S-330. As all our FireBoxes, the S-330 is offered with an air fan that is either Diesel engine powered (S-330) or fitted with an electric motor for connection to the local power grid (S-330E). The Diesel engine is a water-cooled four-cylinder HATZ turbo engine certified EPA Tier4 Final. It does not require Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) or a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) to meet the prevailing Tier4 emissions standards, making it very service friendly. It is controlled by an electronic “Murphy” panel with key witch. California Versions are included in the product lineup.

The standard electric version uses 480V three-phase 60 Hz or 50 Hz input and the premium motor is coupled with a preprogrammed heavy-duty variable frequency drive (VFD) speed controller protected in a NEMA IV housing. Options include an ash cleanout implement (“Ash-rake”), adaptation to 575V line input, a double steel floor and an ember screen for extraordinary applications. The S-330 is shipped fully assembled and requires no onsite assembly. It can be dragged about on its skids with suitable machinery.

The S-330, as all our larger FireBoxes, can also be married to an ORC power module to become a PG-FireBox system generating electricity from the woody biomass combustion process as well as thermal energy for onsite heating or drying purposes. This system powers itself and available PGF Models are rated at 100kW, 500kW and 1MW of gross electric and 1MW, 2.5MW and 5MW respectively of gross thermal power. Energy in excess of what the local yard can consume is typically sold into the public power grid.

NOTES ON STORM – HURRICANE – FLOOD DEBRIS CLEANUP

Disastrous storms inevitably will occur again, and once the month of August has passed, the question whether or not there will be a hurricane hitting the US East or Gulf Coast later this year is on many people’s minds, especially of those in Emergency Management responsible for disaster preparedness. rescue and recovery.

For the sake of the public’s health and well-being, any storm or flood event will require the expeditions, safe and complete cleanup of woody debris from wind damage and floods and often also of drowned animals. Time is very much of the essence to avoid the hazards from decomposing debris, rodent infestations and to clear the way for rebuilding to give the public a sense of comfort and hope for the future.

The quickest way to accomplish these goals is the strategic positioning of Air Burners air curtain burner systems. They must be in the arsenal of tools required for prepositioned disaster recovery contracts for quick deployment to trouble spots. The USEPA has recognized the importance of such rapid air curtain burner positioning by providing in it regulations that air burners machines can be used immediately upon official declaration of a disaster without any initial “red-tape” permitting requirement.

Why air curtain burners?

Only air curtain burners, especially our FireBoxes, totally eliminate the debris on-site:

  • No Drying Out
  • No Grinding
  • No Metal Parts Concerns
  • No Trucking
  • Leaves Only Small Amount of Inert Ash
  • Kills All Pathogens
  • Can Also Safely Destroy Drowned / Diseased Animals
  • The Waste is the Fuel
  • No Landfill Tipping Fees

High temperature FireBox combustion assures complete destruction of any pathogens and microorganisms that may have infested the storm debris from destroyed houses, boardwalks, warehouses, landfills, upset garbage dumpsters, broken sewer lines, etc.

Such pathogens and microorganisms may cause serious long-lasting public health issues, if not eradicated quickly or if the wood waste is chipped or ground into mulch for "recycling" requiring further handling, transportation and ultimate disposal.

Is it a good idea to grind the storm and flood debris and "recycle"?

No, it is not.

Woody disaster recovery debris usually contains all sorts of nasty foreign objects (other than pathogens), such as metal parts, nails, rocks or glass that make the grindings or mulch unfit or undesirable for recycling as ground cover for roadways and parks or for home use in yards and gardens, at playgrounds or for electric power generation at biomass cogeneration plants. Disaster debris mulch more often than not will finally end up in our (precious and limited) landfills anyway, because once ground into mulch, the storm debris can no longer be eliminated in an air curtain burner. Also, grinding and trucking causes unnecessary pollution, wastes fuel and, if merely piled up, mulch is subject to spontaneous combustion resulting in a new dilemma, as such mulch piles often smolder and pollute the air and possibly the ground water for many months.

Air Burners for Disaster Recovery - Highlights

  • Our portable FireBox systems are affordable, easy and inexpensive to operate and they have a long useful life.
  • Mass reduction is 95%-98%, the residue is a sterile wood ash.
  • All our machines meet or exceed applicable US EPA Regulations.
  • Our FireBoxes can be put to work immediately without any cumbersome paperwork in declared disaster areas per US EPA.
  • For best performance, our above ground FireBoxes, our Roll-off FireBoxes and our trailer-mounted towable FireBox, the "BurnBoss" should be used.
  • Our very efficient and well-proven Trench Burners should only be deployed to areas where a properly dimensioned earthen pit can safely be built.
FireBox S-220 and building material arriving at same time for hurricane disaster relief. Well coordinated clean-up and reconstruction. (Caribbean Island)
FireBox S-220 and building material arriving at same time for hurricane disaster relief. Well coordinated clean-up and reconstruction. (Caribbean Island)

Congressman Brian Mast, Local Congressman in Florida Distric 18, Visits Air Burners

Air Burners, Inc. is proud to have hosted a visit to its manufacturing facilities by Congressman Brian Mast, local Congressman in Florida District 18. Air Burners machines are designed to help protect the environment for future generations by controlling emissions from the burning of wood waste and other biomass, for example, in agriculture, forestry, land clearing for the construction industry and for disaster recovery from hurricanes and floods. Congressman Mast is a champion when it comes to overcoming pressing environmental issues, especially in making clean water a priority in Florida’s Everglades. More locally, he focuses on the cleanup of St. Lucie River which has become increasingly toxic with algae contamination.

The Congressman took a tour of Air Burners’ plant with Company president, Brian O’Connor, and learned about the various designs of the machines made here in the US, and shipped around the world. He was particularly intrigued by the Company’s latest introduction that converts unprocessed woody biomass into electric and thermal power that can be utilized for a variety of applications. This system is called the "PGFireBox". It uses all-natural processes resulting in the lowest environmental impact by any waste-to-energy system in existence and it has received the industry’s attention worldwide.

Congressman Mast was accompanied by his local chief of staff and local office executives as well as interns which underscores the importance he places on understanding and working with local businesses in his District.

Congressman Brian Mast (right) and Brian O
Congressman Brian Mast (right) and Brian O'Connor

Air Burners Exhibits at WAPA – Western Agricultural Processors Association 2018 Annual Meeting

Air Burners is a member of WAPA which underscores the company's commitment to help offer solutions to the agricultural industry not only in San Joaquin Valley, California, but throughout the US, Canada. and Australia. The exhibits will be open June 15th and 16th at the Monterey Marriott in Monterey, California.

Air Burners' Booth Number is 305 and the team will be headed by Sales Manager, Michael Schmitt. You are invited to discuss your agricultural waste reduction needs with Michael and also learn about the revolutionary woody biomass to energy system which is portable and totally eliminates the traditional grinding of the biomass waste. There is nothing like it on the market.

To contact Michael, please, Click Here

Click HERE to visit WAPA's website.

Air Burners Expands Its Roll-Off FireBox Line – Delivers First Continuous Chain Version to Pacific Northwest

Air Burners received a US Patent for its Roll-off FireBox designs a few years ago. Initially, cable-hoist and hook-lift versions were offered. They greatly simplify FireBox mobilization, and their designs require no modifications to standard roll-off trucks built to ANSI Specifications. The line has now been expanded to also include Continuous Chain FireBox systems. This type of roll-off truck is popular in the Northwestern US and is also called Endless Chain Hoist Roll-off. The first such S-119R Roll-off FireBox has been delivered.

Those familiar with Continuous Chain cans or dumpsters will recognize the distinctive skid design in the photo to the left. The technical specifications can be downloaded at Air Burners Home Page here. They are the basically the same for all roll-off FireBox versions. Roll-off FireBoxes are offered in three sizes: S-119R, S-116R and S-111R. They all are shipped with a double steel floor. The S-119R and S-116R are most popular.

The photos in this post show the cable hoist versions of the S-119R FireBox at a Wyoming transfer station.

S-119R - Continuous (Endless) Chain Version Loaded for Transport to Northwestern US.
S-119R - Continuous (Endless) Chain Version Loaded for Transport to Northwestern US.
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Air Burners and the US Forest Service Enter into Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) on Biochar

Air Burners FireBoxes by virtue of their basic design and operating features routinely produce only a modest to fair amount of Biochar, as the goal is to eliminate as much wood waste as possible in the shortest of time meeting all applicable air quality regulations. Under the CRADA, the goal is to explore design augmentations and operational adjustments to Air Burners machines, starting with its BurnBoss® (left photo), to optimize the production of Biochar in the forest where Biochar production is the primary objective. It would be desirable to eliminate wood debris from forest harvest operations, fuels management and dead tree disposal in the forest and apply the Biochar to the forest floor right there on location or collect biochar for use elsewhere, if needed.

Air Burners is proud to have entered into this cooperative research and development agreement with the USDA Forest Service, the second CRADA after the company had worked with the US-EPA on its first such agreement a few years ago.

Air Burners Manufactures a Truck Mounted Road Dryer

Air Burners has manufactured a trailer-mounted road and runway dryer for a number of years for Road Dryer, LLC. in Greenville, SC. (www.roaddryer.com). The company markets the Road Dryer machines worldwide. It introduced the new design, a truck-mounted road dryer, at the 2018 "World of Asphalt Show and Conference" that took place in early March in Houston, TX. The Show was a great success for the company.

Road Dryer, LLC. is benefiting from Air Burners many years' experience in designing and manufacturing machinery that requires a high degree of engineering in the fields of fluid mechanics and fluid dynamics of gases. Air Burners' experience in the design and production of "Mobile Machinery", such as its line of trailer-mounted Trench Burners (T-300) and BurnBoss refractory walled FireBoxes (T-24) was another important consideration for Road Dryer, LLC to team up with Air Burners. A "Mobile Machinery" trailer is a trailer built for a particular function, such as drying the surface of a road to ready it for paving or disposing of wood waste on site; it does not carry any cargo.

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