Sennebogen log handler at the forefront of synthetic gas facility


A Sennebogen 818 M log handler is at the forefront of a new synthetic gas facility near Knoxville, Tennessee.

The year-old AC Global Energy (ACGE) plant is designed to convert biomass into drop-in the tank fuel.

As one of the first commercial application of the clean energy tech, the facility was developed to process pulpwood into energy products.

At the front end of the process is a log-loading station that receives truckloads of wood, which is fed into a primary chipper. In the centre of the loading station is a purpose-built SENNEBOGEN 818 M rubber-tired log-loader. The machine unloads and stacks the wood, then feeds it to a Laimet helical chipper. The wood chips go through secondary processing before entering a patented cellulose to hydrogen process reactor for conversion into a hydrogen-rich synthetic gas.

First of many sites

According to John Borden, ACGE’s business development manager in North America, the Knoxville plant is the first of multiple sites that the company foresees for other nearby centres in the future.

“The system is highly scalable, but it’s also economical for smaller production sites, too,” Borden said. “Any location with a good supply of biomass nearby can put this technology to work economically.”

As the Knoxville operation increases production, Borden expects to see it processing as much as 500 tons of wood per day and output of more than 26 million litres of diesel each year.  The facility’s secondary streams include production of marketable co-products including wood vinegar and premium bio-char.

The Sennebogen 818 M provides ACGE with a purpose-built machine that can handle multiple duties as the operation works up to full capacity.

“We considered installing a more traditional stationary loader near the feed deck,” Borden said. “But we decided that a rubber-tired log loader would give us more flexibility. We equipped it with a Timber Grab SGH rotary log grapple to load the incoming wood. We also have an orange peel attachment that the 818 M can use to transfer chips. We receive some of our biomass as chips, instead of logs, so the 818 M is always ready to handle those loads as well as feeding chips into the next stage of the process.”

Borden is familiar with the end-to-end process, having worked the pilot team for four years.

“For our loading applications, Sennebogen was always the leader, in my mind,” Borden said. “Our operators like the 818 very much, too. It handles very well, and the elevating cab gives them a very direct look into the trucks they’re unloading.”

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