Wood Chippers & Grinders vs Eco-Friendly On-Site Burners

Need to dispose of your wood waste? Don’t reach for that wood chipper or grinder just yet!

While chipping or grinding wood is a common way to dispose of wood waste, it isn’t exactly the most effective. And this is without mentioning its potential to cause significant environmental harm.

Instead, consider using a portable air curtain incinerator—such as those from Air Burners—to get the job done properly, and in a much more eco-friendly manner. Here are some ways air curtain burners are the superior investment for your wood waste disposal needs, compared to a wood chipper or grinder.


A Complete Wood Waste Elimination Method

An air curtain burner from Air Burners provides a complete solution for disposing of wood waste and a simple process for doing so. The first step is to load up the burn chamber with wood waste. Depending on the model, this burn chamber could be the main unit of the air curtain burner itself (as with our FireBox systems), or an earthen pit that is dug on-site (as with our Trench Burner system).

After loading, a fire is lit in the burn chamber to start burning the wood waste. The contained nature of the burn allows for higher fire temperatures, so it doesn’t take very long for the waste to be reduced to wood ash.

On the other hand, while a wood chipper or grinder helps you break up your wood waste, it doesn’t exactly eliminate much waste. Instead, you’ve basically changed your large pieces of wood waste into small pieces of wood waste. You still need to do something to actually get rid of the wood, such as burning it in the open. This means additional investment.

To avoid incurring these extra costs, opting for an all-in-one wood waste disposal solution—such as one of our air curtain burning machines—might be the way to go.


A Less Fuel-intensive Process

Wood chippers and grinders don’t run on air. They’re powered by fuel—and a lot of it.

For example, whole log grinders generally consume 100 gallons of diesel per hour. What’s more, you may need to run your wood waste through the grinder at least twice before the resulting wood chips are small enough to be burned in traditional biomass incinerators. This only increases the amount of fuel you have to feed your grinder, driving up your costs.

The environmental cost is greater as well.  Comparing grinding to Air Curtain Burning the CO2 trapped in the waste wood is the same (biogenic CO2)  so the CO2 release will be the same between both waste disposal methods.  It’s the machinery, as indicated above, that is significantly different as the burning of Diesel fuels releases highly polluting substances and greenhouse gases into the air. With climate change becoming an increasing concern, such high use of Diesel fuels definitely needs some rethinking.

The best solution for reducing fuel consumption when disposing of wood waste is the simplest; skip the chipping and grinding process entirely. This is something that our machines can do, as they are able to accept wood waste whole.

The portability of our machines also means that they can be brought on-site, avoiding the need to truck wood waste out elsewhere for disposal (which is yet another fuel-intensive exercise).


A More Eco-friendly Solution

As mentioned, the chipping of wood waste consumes a significant amount of fuel. In the process, polluting substances and greenhouse gases are also emitted, which contribute to air pollution and climate change.

But, that’s not the end of the story. After chipping or grinding, you may be thinking of getting rid of your reformatted wood waste through an open burn. But the smoke produced by open burns only further pollutes our air and poses risks to human health.

Alternatively, the wood chips can be composted. This sounds like a greener option—until you realize that the composting process releases methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping atmospheric heat.

To preserve our environment for generations to come, we need a method of wood waste disposal that prevents harmful substances from escaping into the environment. An air curtain burner from Air Burners is the solution.

Fitted with air curtain technology, our machines trap and reburn smoke particles down to almost nothing. The result is a highly clean burn, with plume opacities of below 10% per EPA Method 9 Testing.


A Fire-safe Answer for Managing Wildfire Risk

After wood waste has been chipped or ground into smaller pieces, it still needs to be disposed of. While burning the wood chips in the open may be a convenient option, open burns are harder to manage—and a single stray flame from an open burn could easily start a large wildfire.

By using one of our air curtain burners, you can mitigate the potential fire risks that arise from wood waste disposal. Whether the wood waste is burned within the main air curtain burner unit itself, or in an earthen trench, the fire is contained within a confined space to reduce the risk of hot embers escaping.

Air Burners machines also come with manuals that clearly define safe operation protocols, such as the maximum wind speeds under which the machine can operate. This provides operators with certainty over how to operate their air curtain burner with minimal fire risk.

Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, California, Australia—and most recently, in Oregon—have grabbed the headlines for endangering human and animal life, and destroying property. Preventing wildfires is a major concern, and we can do our part by opting for fire-safe methods of wood waste disposal.


A Clear Winner for Effective and Safe Wood Waste Disposal

If you’re considering wood waste disposal methods, you have a couple of options. The first is to opt for a wood chipper or grinder. But, as you’ve read, this is an unsatisfactory solution that only helps reduce the size of your wood waste without fully disposing of it.

At the same time, the operation of a wood chipper or grinder consumes a lot of fuel and is a significant contributor to climate change. The open burning of wood chips also poses a high wildfire risk and is the source of significant black carbon (smoke).

The second option is to invest in an air curtain burner, which is a complete wood waste elimination solution in and of itself. An air curtain burner allows wood waste to burn naturally without the aid of any hydrocarbon fuels and in a confined space, eliminating pre-processing costs and making your wood waste disposal efforts safer and greener.

These factors make air curtain burners the clear winner when it comes to effective and safe wood waste disposal. At Air Burners, we produce a whole range of eco-friendly, on-site air curtain burners ready to meet your wood waste disposal needs. Contact us for a quote today to learn more.