Elmia AB

Continuous moisture measurement of biomass for better energy content data

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Source: Elmia AB

Moisture content is one of the fundamental parameters when deciding on biomass fuel quality as this in turn dictates energy content and price. In short, water is expensive to transport and to remove. The traditional methods of determining moisture content and bulk density almost all involve random sampling from a consignment which is not without drawbacks. The Dutch company INADCO, exhibiting for the first time at World Bioenergy presented a different solution, a robust real time continuous moisture measurement and sampling system.

“We built this system many years ago to measure the bulk density and moisture content of potting soil. As this peat material is traded by volume you need to know the standard bulk density, people don’t want to buy water,” explained Theo Coolen, CEO for INADCO.

The system works well and some time ago the company started looking at other industries and sectors where such an application could be of benefit and easily implemented.

“We decided to go to Sweden for the biomass markets,” he said explaining that unlike many other countries biomass combustion is well known and mature.“The combustion plants in Sweden do it for a long time, they know how to run the boiler and now they focus on optimization of the processes,” said Coolen.

However according to Coolen no-one seems to have addressed the issue yet of getting more accurate real time data from incoming fuels to the boiler, especially heterogeneous types of fuels such as wood chips whereas as other parameters, such as flue gas emissions, are continually monitored.

“By knowing exactly how much fuel energy is actually going into the boiler they can better anticipate what they should be getting out,” he said adding that it seemed ridiculous to spend vast amounts of money in fuel costs yet use random sampling methods to approximate the energy content when today’s technology allows real time continuous measurement thereby providing better data.

“We are happy with the feedback and interest we have had so far. I don’t expect to sell anything here and now but I want to show that it is possible to further optimize and save money with our proven solution,” concluded Theo Coolen from INADCO.

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