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After the fire—wood waste put to work

Featured by: USDA and U.S. Forest Service 

Biochar, or wood waste, is a porous carbon substance that results from burning wood in the absence of oxygen. It is typically created when burning chunks of wood are covered by ash, soil or a lid, which insulates the coals and starves them of oxygen. This fire remnant provides a valuable addition to soil for agriculture and gardening purposes as well as contributing to overall forest health.

When added to soil, biochar increases soil carbon and can restore the soil’s pH balance. Soil with a high carbon content is teeming with life and rich in nutrients, requires less fertilizer and produces healthier food. Carbon-rich soil also absorbs and retains water more efficiently, which helps farmers reduce the effects of floods and drought.

“One thing to keep in mind is that biochar does not add nutrients to the soil, but it can help retain them,” said Forest Service research soil scientist Deborah Page-Dumroese. “Biochar is 80 percent carbon, and that’s the big-ticket item. Adding biochar to soil increases soil’s water-holding capacity, which leads to less runoff and leaching, better infiltration, higher water quality and better downstream water flow because more moisture is retained in the soil.”

Biochar also helps restore soil that has been damaged by fire or human activity. Biochar can be easily made in well-constructed slash piles and be used on-site to restore soil organic matter. In places where this method is used, biochar has extended vegetation growth by nearly a month, resulting in reduced fire risk.

Despite its usefulness, biochar is difficult to produce in large quantities for agricultural, forestry or commercial use. With healthy forests in mind, the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and Air Burners, Inc. teamed up to optimize biochar production for the marketplace. The company has partnered with the Forest Service through a cooperative agreement to help find a solution to this market problem. The company’s commercial fireboxes, used for processing wood and vegetative waste, are being modified to produce high-quality biochar.

“We’re using non-merchantable forest residues to create biochar,” said Page-Dumroese. “We’ve been testing a forest-to-farm concept in Oregon, where low-value woody biomass, a byproduct of harvest operations, is uniform and abundant. It makes sense that we match the pace and scale of harvest operations to that of biochar production.” Using the Air Burner (and other) production technologies, the Forest Service can help deliver biochar to unirrigated agricultural production markets to extend the economic, social and ecological benefits of our forest restoration efforts.

Applying biochar can even reduce invasive species growth and help native species expand their range. Since many invasive species prefer a nitrogen-rich environment, biochar can reduce invasive species by tying up nitrogen in many soil types. Biochar has also been successfully used in western forests during removal of old roads to restore them to a natural condition and to restore soils after thinning, among other applications.

Non-merchantable, or low value, wood waste such as this can be converted into biochar. USDA Forest Service photo by Deborah Page-Dumroese.
Non-merchantable, or low value, wood waste such as this can be converted into biochar. USDA Forest Service photo by Deborah Page-Dumroese.
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Air Burners to Demonstrate Green-Friendly Air Curtain Burner Technology in Arizona

BELLEMONT, AZ (June 13, 2019) Air Burners will be holding public demonstrations of its exclusive Air Burners FireBox system on June 18 and 19, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. These demonstrations will take place at Camp Navajo, located at 1 Hughes Avenue, Bellemont, Arizona. Technicians will be on hand to provide information and to answer questions about the FireBox system, which offers a portable solution to disposing of biomass in a convenient and environmentally sound way.  

Those who plan to attend can contact Mike Schmitt of the Air Burners team at 772-631-8140 or Jay Smith, the Forest Restoration Director of Coconino County, Arizona. The event is expected to attract local agencies, businesses and members of the press. An RSVP is requested but not necessary to attend these public demonstrations.

The Air Burners FireBox system offers a number of important advantages for the disposal of biomass:

  • State and federal agencies have used FireBoxes to reduce the amount of excess wood and vegetative waste in forested areas. This can reduce or prevent the spread of wildfires to provide a safer environment for animals and people in at-risk areas.
  • FireBoxes are a portable solution for removal of vegetative waste. Because they can be moved to the exact locations in which they are needed, FireBoxes are the most flexible option for dealing with wood biomass. This ensures the fastest and most practical approach to clearing away dead vegetation that could fuel a wildfire.
  • In addition to the standard FireBox you will see on site, Air Burners offers many other products with the same wood burning principles. The Air Burners PGFireBox uses the heat generated by burning wood and biomass to produce electricity. This makes it an energy-efficient and practical choice for powering outposts. The unique design of the PGFireBox allows it to perform double duty in eliminating excess wood biomass while producing the power needed to maintain operations for temporary camps.
  • Biochar is a natural byproduct of FireBox operation. This material is in high demand for improving the quality of soil in gardens, agricultural operations and in woodlands. The U.S. Forest Service uses FireBoxes to eliminate wood waste and to produce Biochar. This process is similar to the one that occurs naturally and is an environmentally responsible way to deal with biomass and materials produced during routine forest maintenance activities.

During the demonstrations, Air Burners technicians will provide detailed information about how the FireBox works and how to use it effectively. These technical experts will also explain and demonstrate some of the most important benefits of the FireBox system for attendees at this two-day event.


To learn more about the Air Burners lineup or to respond to the invitation, call Mike Schmitt at 772-631-8140 or by email at mschmitt@airburners.com. You may also visit our website at www.airburners.com. An RSVP is requested but not required for this event.

Making BioChar From a Standard Air Burners FireBox

PALM CITY, FL (May 1, 2019) Biochar is charcoal from wood burning that is used to improve soil conditions for growing crops and to foster forest health. That knowledge is not new but in an effort to improve harvests without the need for undesirable chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Biochar is getting a lot of worldwide attention in recent years. If you operate an Air Burners FireBox you too can make a fair amount of Biochar without much effort and add a profit line to your business. Biochar, as a porous carbon substance that retains water makes nutrients more available thereby strengthening plants in agriculture, gardening and woodlands. It is produced naturally by forest fires and agricultural field burning.

The process to produce Biochar is by pyrolysis; wood is burned in the absence of oxygen and what we have left is Biochar. This sounds like a simple process, but to produce large quantities of commercial Biochar economically and in an environmentally sound way has proven difficult. Air curtain burners were designed as a pollution control device to eliminate wood waste quickly in an environmentally acceptable way. As any combustion process leaves behind an ash residue, so does the FireBox. As the wood ashes collect in the bottom of the FireBox, some coals are insulated by the ash and starved of oxygen. If their further combustion is curtailed you have created Biochar.

Recently, the US Forest Service, keen on using Biochar in forests around the country, has recognized the simplicity of this and has teamed up with Air Burners to develop a way to optimize Biochar production in a FireBox, yet still eliminate large amounts of wood waste or forest slash at the same time. This is underway through a CRADA, a research and development agreement between the US Forest Service and Air Burners. A decisive factor for the Government was that the standard FireBox is already officially recognized as an environmentally sound way to burn or dispose of wood waste.

Some of Air Burners customers are already producing Biochar from their FireBoxes. With little effort they are both helping the environment and creating a secondary income from their machines. Here is a general outline of how you can produce Biochar from your Air Burners FireBox. These are the 5 basic steps to making Biochar in your Air Burners FireBox:

1) At the end of each work day the ash and coals are raked out of the FireBox.

2) Air Burners ash rake is used to rake away the solids which may include some unburned wood separating them from the powdery light-colored ashes.

3) The solid coals and wood chunks are dowsed (quenched) with water from a hand-held hose.

4) Now the material is sized by using a simple ½” screen.

5) The Biochar that passes through the screen is taken to the Biochar storage pile.

And that is it. Some of our customers are making as much as 10-15 cubic yards per day, per machine. The Biochar can now be sold in bulk or bagged to local farmers, tree nurseries and home gardeners. The Biochar produced at this level can be sold for as much as $120.00 per 1 cubic yard bag. As no special equipment or machinery is needed for the Biochar extraction, the only extra cost component is the extra time at the end of the normal work shift to complete the above steps.

Air Burners, Inc. is located in Palm City, Florida. For the past 21 years has been the world leader in the design and manufacturing of Air Curtain Burners and Biomass Energy systems. Air Burners and the US Forest Service are collaborating on a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) aimed at streamlining the biochar manufacturing process to aid in forest health.

Visit our website at: www.AirBurners.com for more information.

 

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Photo Credit: Charlotte Organix LLC. FireBox Biochar Produced in 3 days Ready for Market
Photo Credit: Charlotte Organix LLC. FireBox Biochar Produced in 3 days Ready for Market

First Test of Our Biochar FireBox Under CRADA with US Forest Service a Success

Last Spring, Air Burners announced its partnership with the USDA Forest Service under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to explore augmentations to its FireBoxes to optimize Biochar production in the forest. The goal was to develop a commercially viable Biochar production machine that would be low cost and able to simultaneously provide sound elimination of wood waste with reasonable production of Biochar. It also must be easy to operate and maintain and portable or mobile with a small footprint, such as to minimize disturbing the forest floor. Our design goal incorporates these premises.

Air Burners recently tested a Biochar prototype machine based on a modified BurnBoss, a trailer mounted FireBox with a 12-foot refractory burn chamber. The system successfully produced ample Biochar thereby proving the design’s viability. In the next development phase, the Biochar-BurnBoss will be refined with the aim in mind to keep in under a $75,000 price threshold.

All Air Burners FireBoxes, including the BurnBoss have been extensively officially tested for their superior performance to meet air emissions and fugitive particulate releases from the wood waste combustion process. They meet all with flying colors and respective documentation to verify that is available on request.

BurnBoss
BurnBoss
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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.

Agricultural Waste Elimination

The Burn-Box or FireBox has been designed to make open burning of wood debris cleaner and faster. It is the choice of many air quality agencies to replace, for example, open pile burning of tree trimmings, trees from crop rotations or grape vines mixed with metal parts. The machines are portable, easy to operate and affordable. They are immediately available directly from the Air Burners factory.

The ag waste must be woody and cannot be dense, like chips or mulch. The wood waste can be freshly cut-wet or dry. 

For more details, please read the rest of this webpage or speak with a factory sales associate. Click Here and fill out our contact form or call our Sales Manager, Michael Schmitt, at 772-220-7303 or on his mobile phone at 772-632-8140.

Agricultural Waste Elimination by Air Burners Firebox System

You landed on this webpage, because you have an interest in agricultural waste matters, and most likely, how to get rid of it. Within the heading of “waste” in general, agricultural waste embodies a very large segment. Others are municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, forest residue, to name but a few.

Agriculture waste or ag waste is comprised of all the unwanted organic materials left over from or a byproduct of agricultural activities. Most of which, by definition, are man-made or man-induced. They include all those organic plant wastes related to farmland, orchards, greenhouses, etc. Usually called “Biomass”, but also wastes directly related to animals; in particular, livestock and humans as well of which manure, sewage sludge or pesticide runoffs are examples.

It is the goal of the civilized world to reduce or minimize all wastes. That addresses primarily man-made waste, mostly household or industrial garbage (MSW); recycling efforts belong with this endeavor. When it comes to ag biomass waste, we usually can do little towards minimization, as the goal is to maximize the harvest for food production. What we must do is address and eradicate detrimental impacts from pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics and be watchful of the impact of certain genetic manipulations of plants and animals.

Biomass ag waste can be separated into two categories: woody ag waste and dense ag waste materials. Woody ag waste is waste such as tree trimmings, whole fruit trees or vines unrooted for crop rotation. Dense ag waste materials are crop residue from rice or corn harvesting, straw, hay or cotton.

Traditionally, all these plant wastes have been eliminated mostly by open pile burning on site and field burn-offs, also called controlled agricultural burns. For example, fruit tree trimmings in California or Oregon would be collected and open burned in piles releasing massive amounts of smoke. The rules for open burning mandated the phasing-out to ultimate elimination of this practice. Because open burning of any waste is a menace and health hazard to the public, agricultural industries and environmental authorities have looked at Air Burners air curtain machines as the most viable alternate method or the best solution to overcome agricultural open pile burning. It is noted that the practice of chipping, often cited as an alternative, is not one. It is not a waste elimination method, merely a way by which waste is processed to facilitate its transport by trucks, so that the waste disposal can be dealt with elsewhere.

Air Burners burn-boxes or FireBoxes, as they are also called, are not a solution for all agricultural waste disposal problems. The design goal of these machines was to absolutely minimize the smoke (or particulate matter) release from open burning of woody waste material and to maximize combustion efficiency; thereby accelerating the disposal process. Our FireBoxes achieve these goals perfectly. With a combustion efficiency of around 99%, the residual ash amount is very small, and the effluent from the combustion is mostly biogenic CO2 and water vapor. That means the process is utmost cost-efficient which translates into “money saved.”

We now have narrowed down the range of agricultural uses for burn-boxes:

1. Wood- The ag waste must be woody or consist mostly of wood; such as tree trimmings, vines, root balls or whole trees with or without leaves, freshly unrooted or dried out.

2. Size– The ag waste must consist of wood chunks, twigs, branches, tree trunks, root balls; but not mulch, chips or only tree leaves.

3.  Wet or Dry?- Suitable biomass material can be either wet, freshly cut or dry.

4. Metal Parts, Wires, Rocks & Stones– Metal parts, stakes, wires, etc. from vineyard crop rotation, for example, and rocks mixed into the woody ag waste are of no consequence; the FireBox can handle it all.

4. Residual Ash– The residue from the combustion consists of wood ash (carbon ash) and Biochar. Biochar and wood ash are a soil additive beneficial to the soil in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Which Burn-Box is best for me and what else do I need?

Transportability

Obviously, it is your goal to get rid of your ag waste with a minimum of cost yet meeting air quality mandates in your area. That means you want to take the machine where the ag waste is generated, collected or accumulated. You want to cut out the cost of chipping and trucking and possibly landfill tipping fees or other final disposal cost. Your FireBox should be sufficiently large for good throughput, yet fairly comfortable to transport. Our roll-off FireBoxes are the best choice for that, especially, if you already have access to suitable hook-lift or cable hoist-trucks. All models up to the S-220 are legal loads on the road and can be moved by flatbed trucks, lowboys, tilt-bed trailers, slide-axle trailers, etc. Once in your field, they can be dragged on their skids for relocation with an appropriate loader that can handle the weight and terrain. The smallest burn box is the trailer-mounted BurnBoss. Obviously, deployment of it cannot be any simpler.

Loading

All burn-boxes can be loaded by front loaders, excavators, Skidsteers, Bobcats, etc. Those that are suitably fitted with a grapple or rake are best. Using a thumb attachment with the grapple or rake can be helpful to minimize picking up dirt. The BurnBoss can be loaded by hand.

Ash Handling

The residual ash should be removed the next morning after a day’s burn. It is best with our ash cleanout implement, the ash rake. The ash rake connects to suitable machine interface plates on Bobcats, front loaders, etc. The ash is land applied on location most of the time, but because of its value, the Biochar is often fetched out and handled separately.

Location

FireBox burning of ag waste is clean and safe. However, you must be mindful of the fact that there will be smoke during start-up and some while the air curtain is momentarily broken as the machine being loaded. There will be small embers escaping possibly falling to ground near the burn-box. The burn-box area must be kept tidy of burnable material, except for the wood waste pile for the day’s burn. The machine must always be attended while burning. There may also be occasional weather conditions restricting your burn operation. In planning your cleanup operation, you should take advantage of the portability of the burn-box by dragging it to minimize moving the wood waste. For example, if you want to eradicate all trees in a citrus grove, you would place the machine in a location such that you could unroot the trees with an excavator and load them straight into the FireBox without handling them more than once. When the travelling distance of the loader becomes too far, you would drag the burn-box into the center of the next circle within the grove, and so forth.

Waste-to-Energy (WTE)

All matter contains energy in one form or another, so does waste material. Ethanol contained in some gasoline could be made from a food product, such as corn, by a conversion process. As woody biomass waste is eliminated by combustion in a burn-box, the released heat energy can be converted to produce electricity, make potable water, support a wood-drying kiln or heat a building. Air Burners offers a truly revolutionary and the most cost-effective biomass-to-energy conversion scheme with its PGFireBox systems. Their ideal placement would be at wood waste collection sites, landfills or forest landings where timber is harvested. The latter application is exciting, because in addition to the slash from harvesting timber, there is an abundance of wood waste to be eliminated in the US and Canada as well as other countries consisting of pest or drought killed trees in the forests that must be removed for forest fire mitigation and rehabilitation. Designed to eliminate massive amounts of woody biomass, the PGF machines power themselves from the waste being combusted and make excess power available for other uses. One of these uses could be charging battery banks in the forest used by electrically powered forest machines or vehicles, thus reducing the reliance on hydrocarbon powered engines with their inherent air pollution of greenhouse gas forcing agents.

How do I get going?

Click Here and fill out our contact form or call our Sales Manager, Michael Schmitt, at 772-220-7303 or on his mobile phone at 772-632-8140.

Thank you for your visit. 

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)
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