Air Curtain FireBoxes: Eco-Friendly Wood Waste Burners

For those involved in clearing land or managing forests, disposing of wood and vegetative waste is a necessity. Because there are many options, it can be difficult to determine the best disposal solution. Grinding reduces the volume of the material for ease of transportation, but what remains still needs to be disposed of. Composting is a consideration, but it is inefficient for the disposal of massive volumes of unwanted wood and has some other significant drawbacks. Finally, there is open pile burning, another common solution that also comes with major problems. When determining which is best for a project at hand, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each and how each can be useful in a given circumstance. 


Grinding Away Waste 

Grinding is one of the most common methods to support wood and vegetative waste disposal, as it makes transportation of the collected wood waste more efficient and to a quite limited extent, the grindings or the mulch are a marketable commodity for homeowners, nurseries, erosion control on roadways, etc. Unfortunately, there is too much of this product stockpiled, and grinding doesn’t actually eliminate the waste. It only changes its form. While ground wood waste does take up less space, it still needs to go somewhere — usually a landfill. It is not suitable for open pile burning, as a mulch pile would but smolder and smoke. We know that from the many mulch piles that undergo spontaneous combustion each year and often smolder for many months, as it virtually impossible to extinguish the fire.

The biggest problem with grinding, then, is that it is only the first step in the process; it’s not a complete solution in and of itself. It also requires a significant amount of fuel — not to mention the additional cost of hauling the ground waste off-site. Because grinding is fuel-intensive, it’s also environmentally damaging, as it contributes to the increase of Greenhouse Gases.  This all begs the question: In light of grinding’s inefficiencies as a first step of wood waste elimination, are there better solutions? 


Letting it Rot: Is Compost a Solution? 

Composting is popular method for recycling vegetative and other organic waste, like food waste from kitchens, and there are good reasons to consider it. Because composting recycles the waste into a useful agricultural soil amendment, it is often considered a more desirable environmentally friendly option. But composting is not perfect; it still has drawbacks that can outweigh the benefits. 

One of the most significant issues with composting wood and vegetative waste on a large scale is the amount of time and space required for everything to break down. The composting process also requires a significant amount of both fuel and labor, making it costly for the bottom line and a drain on environmental resources. Composting is not a good solution if the goal is to get rid of massive amounts of wood waste.


Open Pile Burning is Less than Ideal 

Traditionally, open pile burning and broadcast burning are the most widely wood waste disposal methods used, especially to clear land for farming or for forest fuels management to mitigate wildfires. There are advantages to this approach and at first glance, it seems to be the most cost-effective, albeit not the cleanest. 

However, the problems with this approach are readily apparent. The first and most obvious is that open burning is a tremendous contributor to air pollution, because of the release of Black Carbon or smoke, a very series Climate Change forcing agent.  Open pile burning may appear quick and easy, but it’s not. Burn piles must be worked by machines or workers to combust efficiently, they must be monitored to prevent runaway wildfires and often take a significant amount of time to completely reduce the waste to ashes. In addition, they may also come with more bureaucratic red tape than other common disposal methods. Because of their potential for problems, especially due to their causing high air pollution, open burning operations are usually more strictly regulated and therefore may require sites to endure a more cumbersome process to obtain permitting. 

In light of these drawbacks, it seems obvious that there’s a need for a better solution for disposing of wood waste. Air curtain burners are just this solution.   


Air Curtain Burners

When it comes to eliminating wood waste, the best solutions on the market today is the use of air curtain burners, specially designed wood waste burners for the quick and environmentally sound elimination of wood waste. These machines are high-tech refractory walled FireBoxes designed for the high temperature burning of massive quantities of wood waste. They feature a high velocity air curtain over the top of the burn chamber that acts like a lid keeping most particulates, especially smoke inside where the particles will reburn, until they are small enough to penetrate the air curtain as hot gases. They then will be visible only as “heat waves” above.

These machines are a far cry from what the industry traditional understands the term wood waste burner to mean:  those are the now long-gone Tepee or Wigwam wood waste burners that used to be abundant, mostly in the Northwest of the US. They were used to get rid of wood waste and free heat energy, mainly for lumber drying.

Air Curtain FireBoxes not only get rid of large amounts of wood waste cleanly and cost-efficiently, they also leave as byproduct within the residual carbon ashes a salable commodity that is in high demand today: Biochar. It can be land applied to the soil on site or sold into agricultural markets as a soil amendment.

In addition to overcoming environmental concerns typically connected with waste disposal schemes, air curtain burners have several more advantages. They are shipped completely assembled as portable machines deployed directly to the locations where the waste has been accumulated, doing away with the need to haul waste to another location, like a transfer station. Some models are Roll-off FireBoxes transportable by standard roll-off trucks. This makes working in remote areas, like the deep forest, even easier.


Air Burners Helps You Manage Wood Waste 

If you have wood waste to eliminate and are looking for a wood waste burner, air curtain FireBoxes are the right solution for you. Air Burners has everything you need to get started. The entire process is straightforward — from finding the unit that works best for you to the arrival of the FireBox on your site, to returning biochar to the soil when your project is complete. Your bottom line will thank you for choosing a cost-effective solution, and you and your crew will get the satisfaction of knowing you’re working efficiently and in a way that is environmentally friendly. 

If you’re ready to begin, click here to learn more.