Wood power plant & oak being chipped

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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
428
California redwood coast
I thought some of you may find this interesting, especially @peakbagger . This is Fairhaven biomass electric power generator plant just across the road from the Pacific Ocean in northern California. I think @peakbagger worked here at some point. I took some pictures of it last weekend when driving home from checking out the surf. It seems to be idle these days.

I'm attaching 3 pictures: (1) The power plant, (2) redwood tree scrap waiting to be eventually burned, and (3) nice tanoak logs just up the road that I believe will be chipped and exported to Asia.

Tanoak (not a true oak, Notholithocarpus - Wikipedia ) is a very nice hardwood to burn, so I drool a bit looking at those log stack. The lumber companies don't have much use for tanoak and consider it a competitor to redwood and douglas fir because it grows back from the shoots and can shade out the seedlings of tree species that are commercially desirable. Leaving the downed logs on the timberlands can create more wildfire fuel. I suspect if it weren't for liability and annoying yahoos ripping up dirt roads or getting in the way, they'd allow people to harvest it for free.

(Note the wikipedia article states the largest tanoak has a dbh of 8.25ft and a height of 121ft.)

powerplant.jpg redwoodscraps.jpg tanoak.jpg
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
I thought some of you may find this interesting, especially @peakbagger . This is Fairhaven biomass electric power generator plant just across the road from the Pacific Ocean in northern California. I think @peakbagger worked here at some point. I took some pictures of it last weekend when driving home from checking out the surf. It seems to be idle these days.

I'm attaching 3 pictures: (1) The power plant, (2) redwood tree scrap waiting to be eventually burned, and (3) nice tanoak logs just up the road that I believe will be chipped and exported to Asia.

Tanoak (not a true oak, Notholithocarpus - Wikipedia ) is a very nice hardwood to burn, so I drool a bit looking at those log stack. The lumber companies don't have much use for tanoak and consider it a competitor to redwood and douglas fir because it grows back from the shoots and can shade out the seedlings of tree species that are commercially desirable. Leaving the downed logs on the timberlands can create more wildfire fuel. I suspect if it weren't for liability and annoying yahoos ripping up dirt roads or getting in the way, they'd allow people to harvest it for free.

(Note the wikipedia article states the largest tanoak has a dbh of 8.25ft and a height of 121ft.)

View attachment 276719 View attachment 276720 View attachment 276721
Thanks, I did a tune up and a energy audit there several years ago, looks like they are still running. That redwood was miserable stuff. It clumped up and plugged everywhere. Any evidence left of the Samoa pulp mill left?. They spent millions to switch to a chlorine free pulping system due to lawsuit from a group of surfers. The new process worked but the could not compete and shut down. Some entrepreneur bought the place, ran it for awhile and then walked in on Friday and told everyone to go home without cleaning the place up. There was a large possibly 100,000 gallon tank of black liquor and bunch of other tanks full of chemicals just sitting there rusting away.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
428
California redwood coast
A Chinese company bought the pulp mill. Eventually shut it down and sold it. The new company then permanently shut it down and the valuable parts, I believe, were sold off to China. (Not hold me to that, as I'd have to do some more research.) The harbor district finally bought the site, the EPA had the 3 million gallons of toxic chemicals trucked away, and now a Scandinavian company is wanting to build a large on-shore salmon fish farm. (See picture for what they imagine.)

Hopefully the fish farm works out OK. Assuming they are able to keep the pollution to a minimum, it'd be good for needed local industry since lumber & ocean fishing has declined so much.

With regards to my earlier thread, a local lumber store has bought a wood processor and has made it big business to cut, split & deliver tanoak. The price, at $440 plus $65 for local delivery, for a cord is getting a lot of business. I consider $505/cord a lot for tanoak delivered, but they seem busy selling it. I doubt they pay much for the logs.

In my research, I found the timeline which documents the drama & decline of a pulp mill.

TIMELINE

 

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CaptSpiff

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2014
550
Long Island, NY
Not meaning to derail the thread, but that "fish farm artist photo" looks just like the condensers that were proposed for NY's Indian Point Nuc plants during some prior "life extension" talks. Indian Point Nuc plants were under criticism for excessive fish (egg) kill by using Hudson River water cooling. A solution offered was low profile land based condensers, instead of the classic parabolic structures. Just a side comment; now back to your regular programming......
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,948
Downeast Maine
Thanks, I did a tune up and a energy audit there several years ago, looks like they are still running. That redwood was miserable stuff. It clumped up and plugged everywhere. Any evidence left of the Samoa pulp mill left?. They spent millions to switch to a chlorine free pulping system due to lawsuit from a group of surfers. The new process worked but the could not compete and shut down. Some entrepreneur bought the place, ran it for awhile and then walked in on Friday and told everyone to go home without cleaning the place up. There was a large possibly 100,000 gallon tank of black liquor and bunch of other tanks full of chemicals just sitting there rusting away.
What do you mean by "clumping up"?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
If bark chips are uniform they flow smoothly through the fuel system like a chunky liquid. Redwood bark is long stringy strips that combine into clumps. The clumps can build up and plug chutes then let loose. When fuel is fed to the grate of the boiler It comes down chutes in the side of the boiler. The goal is to spread the fuel from front of the grate to the rear of the grate to build a uniform thickness of fuel. There are slots in the chute that have heated combustion air blowing through them.The air flow varies cyclically so the chips change their trajectory landing on the grate. That works fine with individual chips but clumps dont flow steady and land non uniformly. The clumps can act like little sails and get caught in the updraft of the boiler and form char that gets carried out of the combustion zone without burning. The char has to be removed, collected and re-injected to burn completely. If it makes it past the char removal system its called particulate and that has to be taken out with a baghouse on occasion but mostly with a electrostatic precipitator with multiple fields.

Getting everything adjusted is specialized work, my old employer got out of it when they closed down our division. There are just a couple of companies that have the expertise and most of the experts who understand it all are retired or near retirement. There were some great incentives to build biomass plants about 10 years ago and several went in around the country, since then things have dried up and biomass is no longer considered to be as "green" as other green tech. Mixed in with the first big Biden bill was a declaration that biomass is considered renewable but for a lot of my former clients its too late, the plants are either shut down or running infrequently and starved for maintenance.
 
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Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
603
Branford, CT
How is that Tanoak not valuable right now? Lumber prices are at record highs. Non pressure treated 2x4's are almost $8 each now here in Connecticut.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
428
California redwood coast
How is that Tanoak not valuable right now? Lumber prices are at record highs. Non pressure treated 2x4's are almost $8 each now here in Connecticut.
Once in a while I see it sold as a local environmental hardwood floor option. For some reason or another, it just isn't good for carpentry. Same goes for eucalyptus, which they once , a long time ago, tried to grow commercially.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,268
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If bark chips are uniform they flow smoothly through the fuel system like a chunky liquid. Redwood bark is long stringy strips that combine into clumps. The clumps can build up and plug chutes then let loose. When fuel is fed to the grate of the boiler It comes down chutes in the side of the boiler. The goal is to spread the fuel from front of the grate to the rear of the grate to build a uniform thickness of fuel. There are slots in the chute that have heated combustion air blowing through them.The air flow varies cyclically so the chips change their trajectory landing on the grate. That works fine with individual chips but clumps dont flow steady and land non uniformly. The clumps can act like little sails and get caught in the updraft of the boiler and form char that gets carried out of the combustion zone without burning. The char has to be removed, collected and re-injected to burn completely. If it makes it past the char removal system its called particulate and that has to be taken out with a baghouse on occasion but mostly with a electrostatic precipitator with multiple fields.

Getting everything adjusted is specialized work, my old employer got out of it when they closed down our division. There are just a couple of companies that have the expertise and most of the experts who understand it all are retired or near retirement. There were some great incentives to build biomass plants about 10 years ago and several went in around the country, since then things have dried up and biomass is no longer considered to be as "green" as other green tech. Mixed in with the first big Biden bill was a declaration that biomass is considered renewable but for a lot of my former clients its too late, the plants are either shut down or running infrequently and starved for maintenance.
Explain "baghouse" and "electrostatic precipitator" to me? They both sound awesome. :)
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
Bag house is just a large multistory box with filter bags.Every bit of the boiler exhaust goes through the bags collecting any dust that iwould be carried up the stack. As the bags cake up with dust they take columns of bags off line and blow air in backwards to release the dust.Its collected and hauled off. An electrostatic precipitator is basically a bunch of metal plates that the exhaust goes through. The dust is given a charge and the plates have an opposite charge. The dust gets sucked out of the exhaust until the plates build up with dust and then the charge is turned off and dust drops to the bottom and is hauled off. This is all old coal technology repurposed for burning wood.

The state of Vermont looked at requiring school and government wood boiler to have this tech included. I think some of the new boilers have dust cyclones (another way to get rid of large particulate. The EPA regs were being litigated during the last round of biomass plants. No one knew what the final results would be so many of new plants had millions of extra equipment installed just in case.. Its expensive to run so in some cases as long as the plant meets its emission numbers the dont need to run it. Almost anything can be taken out of exhaust stream including CO2 as long as there is place to get rid of it where it get sequestered for a long time.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,268
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Bag house is just a large multistory box with filter bags.Every bit of the boiler exhaust goes through the bags collecting any dust that iwould be carried up the stack. As the bags cake up with dust they take columns of bags off line and blow air in backwards to release the dust.Its collected and hauled off. An electrostatic precipitator is basically a bunch of metal plates that the exhaust goes through. The dust is given a charge and the plates have an opposite charge. The dust gets sucked out of the exhaust until the plates build up with dust and then the charge is turned off and dust drops to the bottom and is hauled off. This is all old coal technology repurposed for burning wood.

The state of Vermont looked at requiring school and government wood boiler to have this tech included. I think some of the new boilers have dust cyclones (another way to get rid of large particulate. The EPA regs were being litigated during the last round of biomass plants. No one knew what the final results would be so many of new plants had millions of extra equipment installed just in case.. Its expensive to run so in some cases as long as the plant meets its emission numbers the dont need to run it. Almost anything can be taken out of exhaust stream including CO2 as long as there is place to get rid of it where it get sequestered for a long time.
How do you charge dust? Just induce a mongo magnetic field with a coil?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
Yup. I just design systems and figure out what to do when they are not running right. I have never run them as an operator. I do engineering projects and have quite a few projects under my belt including some weird ones. I also on occasion tune up biomass boilers. During the last big biomass boom I had to set up plant models to simulate the operation of the two new $200 million dollar plants with thermodynamic modeling software so we could make correction curves for performance testing. A lot of it was learn as I went. Of late I consult on natural gas combined heat and power plants in the concept phase for clients and then become owners engineer to make sure the contractor builds them right. . I have two of them starting construction currently. One is a natural gas turbine with Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) that makes power and steam and another one with a 16 cylinder Jenbacher natural gas engine with a HRSG. That plant makes steam in the winter and chilled water in the summer with an absorption chiller. It also has a 3 MWhr Tesla battery. Both are set up if the power goes out the lights barely flicker and the plant keeps running.

Here is a "weird project" I was project manager for. The first commercial installation for renewable fuel oil in the US in North Conway NH. Heating Fuels - Ensyn - Renewable Fuels and Chemicals from Non-Food Biomass. There were no codes and standards for the product but we did work with their factory folks to use the right materials and I used some pulp an paper experience since the entire fuel system had to be stainless including the custom double wall storage tank in the picture Our stuff worked out of the box from the start but the Cleaver Brooks the burner supplier had a lot of learning to do. Once they finally got it right it was good from them on. The stuff smells like barbeque and if I got it on my boots I had to leave them out in the garage for week or so.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,268
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Yup. I just design systems and figure out what to do when they are not running right. I have never run them as an operator. I do engineering projects and have quite a few projects under my belt including some weird ones. I also on occasion tune up biomass boilers. During the last big biomass boom I had to set up plant models to simulate the operation of the two new $200 million dollar plants with thermodynamic modeling software so we could make correction curves for performance testing. A lot of it was learn as I went. Of late I consult on natural gas combined heat and power plants in the concept phase for clients and then become owners engineer to make sure the contractor builds them right. . I have two of them starting construction currently. One is a natural gas turbine with Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) that makes power and steam and another one with a 16 cylinder Jenbacher natural gas engine with a HRSG. That plant makes steam in the winter and chilled water in the summer with an absorption chiller. It also has a 3 MWhr Tesla battery. Both are set up if the power goes out the lights barely flicker and the plant keeps running.

Here is a "weird project" I was project manager for. The first commercial installation for renewable fuel oil in the US in North Conway NH. Heating Fuels - Ensyn - Renewable Fuels and Chemicals from Non-Food Biomass. There were no codes and standards for the product but we did work with their factory folks to use the right materials and I used some pulp an paper experience since the entire fuel system had to be stainless including the custom double wall storage tank in the picture Our stuff worked out of the box from the start but the Cleaver Brooks the burner supplier had a lot of learning to do. Once they finally got it right it was good from them on. The stuff smells like barbeque and if I got it on my boots I had to leave them out in the garage for week or so.

Did you ever think of tinkering up small scale biomass stuff targeted at a farm audience who would be willing to perform manual intervention (troubleshooting, stirring chips, cleaning goo out of filters, etc)?

You could probably sell a few woodgas setups or even just some heaters right here in this thread!
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,018
Colorado
That bag house is amazing and I wish I could pump all my house dust into it and then drop it off outside as it sticks to the ions then I will shut it off to let the dust drop to the ground where it belongs...enjoying the thread even if half the time I do not understand things but I am learning to read between the lines...thank you...clancey.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
I am not in the least interested in going commercial on my own. Once i sell something be it product or design I have to buy professional liability insurance and a bunch of other insurance and headaches I do not want. I used to work under the industrial exception for an employer and when I was in consulting, the company had coverage.

Plus the greatest most efficient wood boiler ever built was designed by Dr. Richard Hill (now deceased) from the University of Maine around 40 years ago. http://www.hotandcold.tv/stick_wood_furnace.html He sold the rights and a couple of firms refined the design and sold them. There are few folks on this site who have probably the most refined version which is the Jetstream. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetstream_furnace. Dick also had a larger model that he built and tested for a Maine Forest Service nursery in Greenbush Maine. If it was upgraded to modern controls It would be hard to find a better design. Dependent on the size, large commercial units might need NOx control as a consequence of its intense combustion temperature. The vertical feed design was pretty unusual. Not sure why the patent owners have not gone back into production.

They were quite expensive when they came out and the price of oil dropped so the demand went down. There was also a fatal flaw in many of the systems sold which Garn owners have learned with open systems. Most were installed with open unpressurized storage tanks. Tanks were expensive so many installers built the systems with standard heating oil tanks for thermal storage. They lasted a few years but inevitably someone would wake up with 500 plus gallons of rusty water in their basement one morning and the installer probably was long gone. Tom in Maine a member on Hearth worked with Dick over the years and developed the American Solartechnics design (which I use). Its an unpressurized design with a heat exchanger coil. It solves all the storage issues. Tom was working on a real slick pellet boiler design several years ago but I think the cost of going commercial kept him from selling it. Tom has a radio show in Maine called Hot and Cold which I think can be streamed and did a local TV show. Here is link to his You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtfw2QaR3MxMlgsKHfqmvoA