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Biofuel manufacturer benefits from enhanced wear protection system

As the need for a diverse energy supply evolves, the likelihood of generating alternative fuels become more prevalent in the market-place as the industry grows year on year. With the UK committing to meeting the EU wide10% renewable energy in transport target, one of the key objectives are for the energy recovery plant operators to ensure that the plant becomes more reliable and efficient.

In implementing measures similar to that of major utility suppliers, generating alternative fuels can benefit from tried and tested technologies that have proven the test of time over many years of operation. By implementing best engineering practice, key plant and equipment can operate on a continual basis and lead to increased efficiencies and profitability. A consequence of operating on higher frequency is the amount of cyclical wear that equipment suffers from. Equipment used within the process such as mills, classifiers, pipelines and extrusion equipment all suffer from different types of wear, these being abrasion, friction and erosion.

One such producer of bioethanol fuel whom produced animal feed as albeit a bi-product, was facing similar issues. The milling process begins with handling fresh chaff and grain supplied through local UK farms and is further transported through the initial process through the use of conveying equipment such as pipework, transfer chutes, and hoppers. In total, the processing plant handles 1.1 million tons of feed-grade wheat to produce 420 million liters of bioethanol and 500,000 tons of animal feed per year, therefore ensuring the plant is operating to its full capacity on a daily basis is a must.

Chaff and wheat grain are when handled in large quantities in varying velocities is considered a highly abrasive material. Conveying such material at these velocities escalates the problem and the effects it has on equipment that is being used to transport it. After the plants engineers visited Kingfisher at an exhibition, they related to the exhibits on the stand and began dialogue as to the possible benefits they could encounter by utilising the lined pipe systems on display. As they conveyed chaff throughout the plant using a pneumatic conveying pipeline, sections of the system had worn through many sections of the pipeline, especially at a change of direction where pulled carbon steel bends where evident and needed to be replaced every one to two months.

Kingfishers Sales Manager Kenny Fergie visited the site to inspect the pipes and could see the steel structure of the pipework had perforated through. “We constantly witness issues within a number of manufacturing industries” commented Kenny “which are subject to handling highly abrasive bulk material, therefore offering a long lasting and effective system to our clients is a key requirement we as a business aim to achieve”

As the site itself has a link to the food chain, it was a case of suggesting a suitable wear resistant lining systems which would combat the high wear rate as well as FDA approved. Kingfisher then manufactured and lined the new pipework with its K-BAS ceramic wear resistant linings systems. Kingfisher K-BAS system is a natural occurring mineral and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorities within the USA.


Publish Date: 06/03/17