Dewatering biomaterial, such as sawdust during pellet manufacturing currently requires a vast amount of energy. Based on current standards this is done with thermal energy, that is, the water is evaporated from the material. However with Drinor’s technology, which is based on a basic principle where the material is pressed in a roller nip, roughly half of the water can be pressed out mechanically. This results in a significant energy saving and increases the capacity of existing plants. The innovation does not replace the thermal principle, but is an efficient supplement. The support from the Swedish Energy Agency will be used to verify the technology in industrial full-scale. This is a decisive step for commercialisation of the technology.
The dewatering press can be described as a multi-tool, it has many areas of application as it can dewater several different materials. However, in the first stage of the technology development Drinor has chosen to focus on the market for pellets. Carl Romlin and Alexander Thelander, the men behind Drinor see vast opportunities to make a difference in the market for pellets.
“It is a sector which does not have big margins, where there is a very large demand for a solution to increase profits. It is hoped that the dewatering press will be able to contribute to this in particular,” they explain.
Large energy savings – large market
There is large future potential for the dewatering press. In the Swedish pellet industry alone it is expected that energy consumption will be reduced by the equivalent of heating 25,000 houses and within the transport sector the need of biofuel transport will be reduced by two-thirds.
“And in the first stage of the drying process, it can reduce energy consumption by up to 95 per cent. In addition, the production capacity and process control will increase,” says Carl Romlin.
There is large interest in the dewatering press, even from abroad.
“Initially we want to establish a home market in the Nordic region, but we have interested parties from far away, such as Canada, Indonesia and Australia,” says Alexander Thelander.
“Dewatering is a global problem so there is a strong interest in finding a solution for drying biomaterials,” explains Carl.
* The Swedish Energy Agency’s business development support
The Swedish Energy Agency offers a targeted business development support, referred to as ‘grant with a limited royalty’ to small, innovative companies with a focus on growth. “We finance business concepts which are scalable, entail customer benefits and solve a clear problem in the market. One of our requirements is that the concept should contribute to the reduction of energy consumption or increase the production of renewable energy and we would prefer to see conditions to drive the company towards profitability and growth.”