The Savvy Buyer’s Guide to FireBox vs. Trench Burner

Downed tree limbs, dead standing trees, scraggly brush, old pallets, scrap lumber, tear-out walls or roofs, invasive plants and slash piles are all viable candidates for air curtain burning. Incinerating waste products such as these is a great way to eliminate bulk from landfills, producing an incredibly clean ash that can be turned back into soil to enrich it or can be sold to a horticulturist for agriculture purposes. Whatever waste biomass you need to burn, Air Burners, Inc.® has the right machine for your use.

But what are the differences between the air curtain burning machines? Comparing the top two bestsellers, the FireBox and the Trench Burner, will help you find which one is right for you. Both of these machines use the Air Curtain Burner technology designed for pollution control. This technology recycles smoke loaded with particulate matter by using a targeted air current to redirect it back into the fire, causing it to burn a second time to reduce the amount of particles, or black carbon, released into the air. By producing less black carbon than traditional open burning, Air Burners release a much cleaner smoke into the atmosphere. Click here to view Air Curtain Destructors case study.

While this Air Curtain Burner technology is the same for both the FireBox and the Trench Burner, the machines and the techniques are quite different. Everything from mobility to prep work is vastly different when you compare the two.

Which Air Burner is Right for Me?

When it comes to choosing the right biomass burning machine for your project, there are several key factors to consider. Once you’ve considered these eight components, the choice should be simple. Take a closer look at the differences between the FireBox and the Trench Burner using the following variables:

1. Transportation

Both the FireBox and the Trench Burner have been designed for easy transportation. The FireBox is commonly loaded onto a flatbed or drop deck trailer and hauled to the site. While the largest size requires an oversize permit, another size was designed to conveniently fit into a shipping container for worldwide travel. Once at the site, the FireBox, equipped with skids, can be moved around with a lift or hook system.

The Trench Burner is much more portable, which is the most popular reason for choosing this style over the FireBox. It has an adjustable hitch to fit onto most any truck and can be easily hauled over-the-road and right to the site. Once at the site, the Trench Burner can be moved around with the pickup truck. It also has a simple winch system to pull it back from the edge while the excavator is at work building the trench.

Click here to view Trench Burner Video

2. Location

Another consideration is the typical kinds of locations that will be used. If the land is rocky, sandy, wet, too dry, steeply pitched or densely wooded, it might not be feasible to dig a perfect trench, as is required for the Trench Burner. The FireBox might be a better choice if the condition of the ground is questionable. The Trench Burner would be more mobile, however, in tight conditions.

3. Set-Up/Tear-Down

The FireBox is self-contained and requires no additional set-up. Just put it into place, add the waste materials and an accelerant, such as diesel fuel, and get started burning. At the end of the day, clean out the ash and that’s it.

The Trench Burner requires a carefully sized and properly placed trench that meets the specifications for an effective burn. If the walls slope or are too wet or too dry, the efficiency of the burn decreases. A trench can only be used so long before the walls dry out and crumble, so a new trench may be needed. At the end of the day, the ash and coals can be left to cool and the trench closed.

4. Scope of Projects

Another consideration is the scope of the project. If you need an air burner that lasts for days for large jobs, the FireBox would be the best choice. If you have a variety of projects – some big, some smaller – the FireBox again is a great pick for variable sizes and flexibility. However, if your projects are fast and short, the Trench Burner might be the best choice for that situation.

5. Efficiency

You can’t beat Air Burners for efficiency when compared to any other method of getting rid of waste materials. But when compared to each other, the FireBox is faster and cleaner than the Trench Burner because of its self-containment which eliminates relying on a trench.

The Trench Burner’s through-put is approximately 8 tons an hour while the FireBox processes anywhere from 2 to 10 tons an hour, depending on machine size. The through-put of either machine is subject to variables such as loading rate, material type and burn chamber temperature.

6. Machine Size

The FireBox is the largest of the two machines. It weighs from 26,100 to 54,600 lbs., depending on the size you choose, and it can stretch from 23’ to over 37’ in length. While it is designed to be extremely portable, the size is a consideration when deciding which Air Burner system is right for you.

The Trench Burner is designed for easy mobility. With the tongue and hitch, this machine is just over 28’ long and weighs 6,500 lbs., which is easily handled by most heavy duty pickup trucks.

7. Safety

Another important consideration is safety. The FireBox is a controlled unit that is simple to keep safe. However, the operator has to be able to fill it by lifting the waste materials up and into the box without being able to see into the box.

The Trench Burner has to be initially set up with extra safety precautions. The trench must be clearly fenced or marked off to avoid accidents such as falling workers or caving in sides of the trench by setting heavy loads too close. The operator can see right into the trench when loading it with waste material, which is an added safety bonus.

8. Cost

Finally, cost is a consideration in choosing between the FireBox and the Trench Burner. The Trench Burner is more affordable, however it needs to meet the other criteria to be the right choice for you. For more specific information, check out our price comparison between the different models.

Still Not Sure Which One to Buy?

We’re here to help you find the best Air Burner for your needs. Contact us for additional answers to your questions. Whichever Air Burner you choose, you’re sure to have a reliable and efficient way to get the job done just the way you want it.