Despite the recent hike in gas and electricity prices, fuelling the growing debate over the cost of green energy to the consumer, the drive towards environmentally-friendly power stations seems set to continue, with biomass-fired plants playing a key role in the switch from coal.
Energy companies see biomass as an alternative source of clean fuel that will help meet carbon reduction targets. However, the movement of biomass within power stations and factory environments requires high-quality conveying systems that meet statutory requirements for the safe and dust-free distribution of potentially hazardous materials.
Wood chip, sawdust, pellets and shavings are not easy to handle, they do not all flow freely and can be combustible. As with any potentially combustible component, stringent safety regulations are in place to eliminate or control the risks from explosive atmospheres in the workplace.
Spiroflow Ltd is a world-leading manufacturer of ATEX approved conveying and bulk handling systems that meet regulatory requirements for distributing potentially combustible materials using safe, dust-free and cost-effective methods.
Although ultimately it is the responsibility of biomass processors and power plants to ensure that the workplace is safe, Spiroflow is well aware of the potential dangers that can arise due to dusty atmospheres, and is quick to point out that the key safety ethos for all conveying, handling and weighing equipment should be explosion prevention.
Materials such as wood pellets and wood chips are also quite fragile and need totally secure handling as they can easily degrade over long distances and complicated factory routes. Spiroflow’s ATEX compliant conveyors, bulk bag dischargers and fillers incorporate flow promotion devices to aid the movement of difficult materials with almost negligible degradation.
The company’s tubular drag conveyor, for example, offers total dust free handling and movement of products over distances of three to 60 metres at rates of up 120 tonnes per hour – depending on material and density – efficiently, cleanly and without the need for an air filtration system. Over the years this system has proven to be the most cost-effective method for conveying difficult and temperature-sensitive materials.
It provides complete batch transfer of bulk products from single or multiple in-feed points to single or multiple discharge points, making it ideal for a wide range of materials.
Steve Taylor, Senior Applications Engineer at Spiroflow explained: "Our ATEX compliant tubular drag conveyor meets the strict regulatory demands for conveying biomass materials. Our knowledge of all the hazards associated with conveying potentially combustible materials is second to none."
Spiroflow manufactures a range of Flexible Screw Conveyors, Aero Mechanical Conveyors, Tubular Cable and Chain Drag Conveyors, Vacuum Conveyors, Bulk Bag Dischargers, Bulk Bag Fillers, Ingredients Handling and Weighing Systems. The company’s technical and engineering expertise has led to it developing an international reputation for an unrivalled range of products with state-of-the-art control systems.