Bucket Elevators and Belt Conveyors for Biomass Pellet Plants

January 25, 2017

Biomass energy pellets are increasingly coming into favour as a renewable fuel source. Biomass pellets are environmentally friendly, with very low sulphur and chlorine content. They produce zero carbon dioxide cycle emissions and have a high heat value content. More and more pellet production plants are coming online as demand for biomass pellets grows. This blog looks at how UniTrak can support producers through the provision of bucket elevators and belt conveyors for biomass pellet plants.

Biomass pellet plants produce pellets from a variety of sources. Typically, residual materials from industrial, agricultural and forestry processes are used as inputs for pellet production. These materials may include sawdust, wood shavings and chips, tree bark, corn stalks, garbage, silt, cloth, etc. The primary requirements for the choice of input materials is that they are combustible and can be transformed into finished pellets profitably.

Bucket Elevators and Belt Conveyors for Biomass Plants: Applications

Pellet production lines consist of a variety of processes designed to convert the input materials into finished product. Primary processes on a typical pellet line include pre-treatment (including chipping, sieving, drying, etc.), pelletizing, cooling, and packaging. While the design and configuration of individual pellet production lines can vary from plant to plant, bucket elevators and belt conveyors can often play the following roles in a pellet production line:

• Transporting input material to the sieve. An inclined cleated belt conveyor can be used to move input material to the sieve or other pre-treatment processes. The cleated belt conveyor can be fitted with a magnet to identify and remove any metallic residue before sieving.

• Transporting sieved material to the pellet mill for pelletizing. Pellet mills are typically fed from above with material deposited into an input chute or hopper. A bucket elevator can be used to raise material from the sieve and discharge it into the input chute of the pellet mill.

• Transporting pellets from the line to the cooler. Either an inclined cleated belt conveyor or bucket elevator can be used to elevate finished pellets from the line into the cooler. A gentle handling bucket elevator, such as the TipTrak™ model described below, may be preferred at this point in the process to prevent damaging or breaking the milled pellets.

• Transporting pellets from the cooler to the storage silo or packaging station. Completed pellets may be packaged in bags for shipment to the final customer or placed into a storage silo for eventual bulk transport by truck or railcar. A bucket elevator can be used to elevate and move larger volumes of finished pellets into the storage silo. For packaging of finished product into bags for consumer use, either an inclined cleated belt conveyor or bucket elevator can be used to move finished pellets into the packaging station.

Bucket Elevators and Belt Conveyors for Biomass Plants: UniTrak Products

UniTrak can supply bucket elevators and belt conveyors for biomass pellet plants. Our TipTrak™ bucket elevators are renowned for their gentle handling of product – an important feature for handling finished biomass pellets and protecting them from breakage or damage. TipTrak™ bucket elevators have exceptional reliability and can function equally well in continuous or batch production processes. Each TipTrak™ conveyor can be fully customized to meet the needs of your particular pellet production process and line configuration. TipTrak™ bucket elevators have capacities ranging up to 30 cubic feet per minute.

By avoiding the rubbing/grinding actions and impact points that can damage finished pellets, TipTrak™ bucket elevators avoid the problems associated with chain drag conveyors and flexible screw conveyors in biomass applications. TipTrak™ PEC units feature fully enclosed construction that can address dusting and keep pellets dry and protected from the weather during transport to outdoor storage silos. TipTrak™ Monocoque units feature a fully sealed construction that can address the problems associated with explosion control. To see the full range of TipTrak™ bucket elevator construction types, configurations, and options, please click here.

Inclined cleated belt conveyors from UniTrak can be supplied to move material at various points in the pellet production process as described above. As with our TipTrak™ bucket elevators, these conveyors can be expressly designed to accommodate the configuration and distances of your particular pellet processing line.

If you are a biomass pellet producer, UniTrak will be pleased to review and discuss your conveying needs. Here is some additional reading on Biomass Conveyors by UniTrak

To find out more about UniTrak bucket elevators and belt conveyors for biomass pellet plants, please contact our sales department.

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