Wood chip feeding technology of the future for small-scale biomass boilers

Annually, about 0.7 Mio small-scale biomass boilers are sold in Europe. Until 2020 an increase to 1.6 Mio is expected, with wood chip boilers as a main technology. However, their fuel feeding systems are a weak point. They account for 80 – 90 % of unexpected plant shutdowns. State-of-the-art feeding concepts mostly discharge from the bottom, which leads to massive constructions, increased wear of equipment, intricate maintenance and high operation costs. The objective of this project is to develop a new wood chip feeding system for small-scale heating plants.

Reduced operation and maintenance costs will make the system very attractive for users and it will therefore have a huge potential for application. The participating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can implement the results in their portfolios and strengthen their market position. With help of the project, the SMEs shall become technology leaders with respect to wood chip feeding for small-scale boilers in Europe.

A core component will be a gripper, which enables feeding from the top of the stored fuel. It will be equipped with sensors to screen the fuel quality, e.g. particle size and moisture content and, thus, be able to create a rather constant fuel quality by creating fuel blends. Moreover, a new feeding screw will be developed. It will allow for constant transport of wood chips, independently of shape and size.