Maine Patent of the Month – December 2021

Woody chips are great fuel for heat and electrical generation, so great in fact that they have been used for decades. The wood chips are hauled to  a mill and arrive with varying moisture contents, often up to 50%. This might be fine for large boiler systems that co-fire with other combustible materials, it does not work for smaller boiler systems. Dirigo Timberlands, Co. has developed a drying system, getting this fuel material processed and ready for use in any boiler system.

Dirigo Timberlands is a forest management company, with expertise ranging from conservation to logging. With their extensive timber harvesting experience, they have constructed a hopper system which can dry and direct the wood chips to a combustion system. The hopper system is configured to store the chips as they are dried before directing them into the boiler. The drying system uses an air supply to move drying air across the fuel material. The storage bin has perforations to allow the air to move through the fuel supply at a greater surface area, without letting the wood chips fall out. In addition, a fuel heating system is included, preventing the freezing of the wood chips in colder climates. Finally, the dried fuel is sent along a feed system which directs it into the combustion system, where it can be used as fuel.

This provides a simple and incredibly effective wood chip processing system, leading to improved fuel efficiencies in any boiler system.

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