And the FDA may be onto something: Millions of Americans get sick each year from foodborne illnesses, caused by pathogens like salmonella. https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html Those bad bacteria, viruses and microbes can live in the soil, and can get there on the back of fresh, raw manure. In fact, some of those baddies can live in the soil for more than 300 days, according to some reports. <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/21/246386290/organic-farmers-ba…
With so much on the line, the FDA says, “better safe than sorry.” The federal agency has taken on new food safety authority since 2011 with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and is considering the addition of more food safety rules for consumer protection, like banning harvest for nine months on any field that uses raw manure. <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/21/246386290/organic-farmers-ba…
For organic farmers like Crawford, banning that “nice black manure that’s just rich and full of good microorganisms” would shut him down. “We wouldn’t even be able to function,” he told NPR.
So what’s a manure-lover to do?
Will Daniel of Earthbound Farm is opting for “a pelletized, processed chicken manure product” that’s been treated with heat and pressure to kill all microbes, according to NPR. “We’ve gone in that direction because we feel that it’s very important to assure that we are not spreading these pathogens in our fields, that could lead to contaminated product,” he says.
Using processed manure works in conjunction with FDA rules because the regulations cover raw manure only — not processed manure. A special manure-drying process, like one that uses rotary dryers designed by Uzelac Industries, can dry raw manure using high enough temperatures to reduce the bad pathogens found in natural manure. That process helps to address the FDA’s concerns: The result is a processed manure product that retains the best part of fresh manure, designed with pathogen-kill in mind. It’s a win-win for everybody.
We’d love to talk turkey (and more fowl subjects) at the International Poultry Expo Jan. 31 – Feb 2. Give Uzelac Industries a call — we’ll be there! http://ippexpo.com/
As an industry, wood pellet production continues to grow year after year. In fact, according to a United Nations report, global wood pellet production increased by 12% in 2013 alone, and experts estimate that the wood pellet trade could lead to international revenues of $11.5 billion in just four years.
But the biomass industry is more than just a profitable one. If you’ve been a part of this growing trend and have followed our blog for a while, you know that countries across the globe, especially in Europe, increasingly rely on American wood chips to power their electrical plants, decrease harmful carbon emissions, and meet their energy goals.
But where does all this wood come from? Here, we’ll discuss some of the main sources of wood-pellet wood in the United States and how different companies fight to ensure that wood remains a sustainable energy source for generations to come.
America’s Rich Forests
Centuries ago, many parts of America were covered in thick, luscious forests. The percentage of American land that was completely covered in trees decreased with industrialization, but according to reports from NASA, approximately one-third of America is still filled with forests.
Although around 33% of the world is still forested, areas like Europe have a very limited amount of wood resources. For instance, Great Britain is a relatively small island that has been industrialized for centuries. Compared the US, which was still expanding to the West and South as industrialization occurred in Europe, they have very few ways to access sustainable forests for fuel sources.
In contrast, America is still heavily forested. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly visited some of the most famously forested areas in the United States, like the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest or the beautiful blue hills of the Appalachian Trail.
Unlike fossil fuels, trees aren’t necessarily a limited resource-they can, and should, be replanted. They also burn cleaner than coal does. They’re easy to harvest and, thanks to sturdy rotary dryers, easy to transform into easy-to-use wood pellets. Because of America’s wood, Americans and Europeans alike can benefit from a cleaner, more sustainable fuel source than fossil fuels.
The South’s High-Quality Trees
You might think that most of the biofuel’s wood pellets come from heavily forested areas like the Pacific Northwest. Actually (as you know if you’ve read some of our other blogs), the vast majority of biofuel companies source their trees from the American South, especially states like Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
In particular, many biomass companies use wood from southern yellow pines, which aren’t a specific type of tree but rather a designation for a group of similar trees. According to one study, since worldwide use of paper products in favor of electronic ones has decreased, the South currently has a surplus of southern yellow pines, which makes them a perfect choice for conversion to fuel.
Other wood pellets are made from wood biomass waste, or the low-quality remnants of harvested or dying trees that can’t be used for furniture but can be used for fuel. The waste is dried, compacted into a pellet and burned.
Preserving the South’s Forests
Some environmentalists have worried that using the South’s timber might contribute to environmental degradation over time. However, several entities, including the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the US Industrial Pellet Association, and the National Alliance of Forest Owners, banded together to study the issue and ensure the pellet industry wouldn’t negatively impact the area.
The study the group commissioned found that the wood pellet industry’s goal to export sustainable wood to the European Union and Great Britain isn’t destroying the South’s woods. Instead, the study found that biomass companies are only removing a small percentage of the South’s timber-only around 3.3% of the area’s forests.
The biomass industry’s investment in trees naturally leads to sustainably. Since biomass companies want their clients to always have a ready source of fuel, they invest heavily in replanting harvested trees and ensuring the areas they use for timber remain clean and healthy.
Unfortunately, coal and oil exportation remains high, and mining for these two fuel sources, especially in the South, often does more environmental damage than harvesting wood for pellets does. Hopefully, as more companies transition to biomass fuel sources, the world will work towards a cleaner future with a more sustainable fuel source.
Invest in America’s Forests
An investment in wood pellets means a commitment to making sure America’s vastly forested lands stay that way. If you currently rely on rotary dryers to produce wood pellets, talk to our company about how to maintain your rotary dryer and make it as efficient and effective as possible. And if you’re thinking of transitioning to this energy source, get in touch with our company to learn how we can help.
Simply want to learn more about the biomass industry? Browse our other blogs to get a feel for the industry’s goals, commitments, and recent innovations.
The American manufacturing sector has been on the rebound in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. A manufacturer who doesn’t take advantage of the most recent technological advancements risks falling behind the competition. Advancements like 3D modeling will have far-reaching effects on the entire manufacturing sector. We’ve recently begun using the 3D design software SolidWorks, and we would have to admit that, now that we’ve seen the program’s advantages, it would be extremely difficult to go back to our old way of doing things.
3D modeling offers a number of advantages to manufacturers. The most important one is that this technology can let us get a much better look at a component in the design phase. Compared to a 2D drawing, we may be able to better spot flaws or areas where the design can be improved when we take a look at the 3D model generated by SolidWorks. We can fix potentially expensive mistakes before the manufacturing stage starts. Actually, we now have clients asking us if we’re using SolidWorks because they know how it can speed up the manufacturing process and make it more efficient
We look forward to seeing the continued evolution of this technology and how it improves our manufacturing process. We will embrace anything that helps us manufacture a better product, and we get the impression that this is just the beginning for 3D modeling for Uzelac Industries.
The rendering industry is a vast force in the U.S. economy, though it goes relatively unmentioned in general public discourse or media, unless approached indirectly in relation to another industry, perhaps most notably meat processing. While meat processing certainly is a significant portion of the overall rendering sphere, the umbrella of rendering extends into several different parts of the food industry, and its processes actually allow many pieces of the food industry to operate more efficiently and in a way that’s easier on the environment.
The National Renderers Association recently put out this great informational video about the rendering industry, which provides a great background and overview of the various impacts and applications of rendering that exist in the U.S. For instance, it might be surprising to learn that rendering is responsible for collecting, processing, and converting some 60 billion pounds of animal by-products from meat, poultry, and fish processing operations into useful products and additives such as animal and pet feed supplements, soaps, detergents, lubricants, and more. Renderers come in at multiple stages of the farming and food industries to take unused or discarded animal by-products to recycle them into these useful ways; from feathermeal and eggshells, to scraps from grocery stores and butchers, to excess and used cooking oil and grease from restaurants, renderers are the premier and original recyclers in the food and farming industries, accounting for responsible reuse of 60 billion pounds of what otherwise would end up in landfills, or worse.
Uzelac Industries is proud to service and support this vital industry with the best capital equipment for custom drying applications available. In upcoming blogs, we’ll explore some more particulars of the different intersections of this industry that we serve more specifically. Tweet @UzelacInd to get in touch, or check our website for more information, and be sure to check back here at our blog as we continue to explore some of the finer details of the different rendering processes, and our role in making it all happen.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized standards within the Clean Air Act to protect people and the environment from toxins released from boilers and incinerators. The new standards aimed to reduce air pollution from mercury, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter, and more. The main targets are pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, and measurable health problems. This is achieved by capping emissions from burning fuel such as coal, oil, natural gas, and biomass.
Under these standards, boilers are broken down into two main categories, major source boilers and area source boilers. Major source boilers are those that produce large quantities of polluted emissions, such as major industrial facilities. Area Source Boilers are those that cover a smaller, more targeted scope, including public buildings and universities.
Area source boilers have fewer restrictions than major source boilers. For biomass area sources, the only pollutant that must be limited is particulate matter.
A feature in Biomass Magazine provides specific details for new area source boilers: “Biomass boilers with a heat input between 10 MMBtu/hr and 30 MMBtu/hr are required to keep filterable particulate emissions below 0.07 lb/MMBtu, while boilers rated 30 MMBtu/hr and greater are limited to 0.03 lb/MMBtu.” For existing biomass area source boilers, however, there are no new limitations. They simply have to undergo regular maintenance and tune-ups.
For major source boilers, the regulations are stricter. These boilers must limit either filterable particulate matter or total selected metals, though the choice is theirs to make. In addition, they must limit carbon monoxide emissions.
Another hurdle for biomass boilers is the limitation of mercury. If mercury is in the fuel source, it will be expelled as waste in one of three ways, and each of those ways must be dealt with separately. Particulate mercury can be filtered out, while divalent mercury must be absorbed by activated carbon. To control mercury in its elemental form it must first be ionized, then absorbed by activated carbon before finally being captured by a particulate control device.
Boiler MACT is estimated to impact about 200,000 boilers around the country. For this reason, it’s imperative to stay in-the-know and ensure that all facilities are meeting necessary standards.
While coal, oil, and gas will continue to play a critical role in our daily lives in the 21st century, it’s increasingly apparent that the key to providing the levels of energy needed to sustain the planet is by adopting renewable energy. Plans abound in countries and companies across the world to adopt better (and ultimately cheaper) means of procuring energy than simply by drilling more oil wells. The numbers speak for themselves. In Europe alone, it’s been estimated that a full 9% of the population is involved in the “bioeconomy” to some capacity. Translated into profit margins, that’s a whopping €2 trillion annual turnover. That’s just Europe alone.
One of the foremost energy sectors that the new bioeconomy is looking to lies right beneath our feet. We aren’t, of course, referring to shale oil or natural gas fields. No, we’re talking about something as commonplace as unrefined urban wastewater. The collective “sludge” that passes through the sewer systems of cities worldwide can be adopted – very effectively so – into a powerful and renewable source of energy. Think not only of the metropolitan regions of America and Canada. Think as well about the enormous “megapolis” cities that are mushrooming right now in China, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. For example: three decades ago, the Chinese city of Shenzhen was a sleepy fishing village built in the shadow of British-controlled Hong Kong. Today, it is one of the most dynamic cities on the planet, with an estimated population of over 10 million, a hub city in a region where one third of the world’s goods get manufactured. If China wants to sustain that level of growth, renewable energy strategies like wastewater recycling are simply inevitable.
Dewatered sludge can be used as a cheap, carbon-neutral substitute for oil, gas, and coal. And with Duske Drying Systems, huge levels of sludge can be dried clean of their liquid content at a rapid rate. We don’t see the equipment we make as being “optional” in the same way as choosing a laptop computer or a new mobile phone. We see the equipment we design and manufacture at Uzelac/Duske as essential to the future infrastructure of urban society: that’s just putting it bluntly like any good Wisconsinite should. So let us know how we can help build the future for you. That’s what we’re good at around here.