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RZ Pellets – an Austrian pioneer

RZ Pellets is something of a pioneer in the Austrian pellet industry. Celebrating a decade of pellet production, the company has grown to become the largest producer in Austria, accounting for almost one third of the national output.

About 80 percent of RZ Pellets production is blown-delivered from a bulk truck to clients within 100 km radius.

About 80 percent of RZ Pellets production is blown-delivered from a bulk truck to clients within 100 km radius.

That is not all though, RZ Pellets GmbH has wood processing operations and runs ten heat plants in Austria some with power co-generation. The company has four pellet production sites all strategically located around Austria, facilities with a total combined annual capacity in the region of 250 000 to 280 000 tonnes.

Located around 120 km west of Vienna is the medieval town of Ybbs an der Donau. Here RZ Pellets built their first pellet plant in 2004 as part of an innovative three-way integrated bioenergy combine project with interconnected mass and energy flows. Adjacent to the site is one of central Europe’s largest sawmills belonging to forest industry giant Stora Enso. It processes around 1 million m3 of spruce sawlogs per annum producing sawn and planed goods along with speciality construction products.

Interdependencies

The sawmill complex supplies sawdust, planer shavings and woodchips to the pellet plant. Bark and woodchips are supplied to Biomasse Heizkraftwerk Ybbs GmbH, RZ Pellet’s 30 MWth combined heat and power (CHP) plant situated next to the pellet plant. These residues are conveyed directly as they arise from Stora Enso’s production to each recipient.  In return the CHP plant supplies heat to the sawmill including the dry-kilns, and heat to the Ybbs district heating network. The electricity is supplied to the grid.

The incoming wet sawdust from the sawmill is fed into a 2000 m3 silo for intermediate storage. From here it is metered into the 25 m long Swisscombi belt dryer. Exhaust heat from the flue-gas condenser is used to heat the dryer to 95-100 oC. The drying process takes about 30 minutes to bring the moisture content down from about 55 percent to 10 percent. The shavings from the planer mill have a moisture content of around 8 percent and are fed into a separate 2000 m3 silo. Sawdust from the dryer and shavings from the silo are then transported past a magnetic separator to one of two Reter hammermills. Corn starch and, if necessary, moisture is added at the hammermill.

– We add corn starch, less than 1 percent, to improve durability as 80 percent of our production is blown-delivered from a bulk truck. We get the best mixing here at the hammermill and since we always have the same spruce feedstock we don’t need to change dosing, explained Michael Pichler, from RZ Pellets.

About 20 percent of the production is bagged in 15 kg bags and palletised on a single Arodo packaging line. The plant has four Salmatec presses, two were installed when the plant was built and have clocked 50 000 hours of operation according to RZ Pellets Michael Pichler (right).

About 20 percent of the production is bagged in 15 kg bags and palletised on a single Arodo packaging line. The plant has four Salmatec presses, two were installed when the plant was built and have clocked 50 000 hours of operation according to RZ Pellets Michael Pichler (right).

The 6 mm pellets are produced by one of four Salmatec presses. The production goes to a conditioning silo before being transferred to bulk silo or the Arodo bagging line.

– This is really an online production. If Stora stop production for more than a few days then we would need to bring in external feedstock. So far we have never had to do so. The only stop is planned during Christmas, Pichler said.

4737/AS

Pellet and CHP Plant

Capacity: c. 80 000 tonnes/yr

Quality: 6 mm ENPlus

Feedstock: 100% spruce, 50/50 shavings 8%mc sawdust 40%mc

Belt dryer: Swisscombi GmbH

Hammermill: 2 x Reiter GmbH

Press: 4 x Salmatec GmbH

Bagging: 1 x Arodo GmbH

Staff: 5 rotation (2-3 day, 1 night)

Fuel: c. 330 000 m3 bark 50%mc c. 85 000 m3 chips 25% mc

Capacity: 3×10 MWth, 5 MWe

Out yr: c.140 GWh, 42 GWhe

Boiler: Urbas GmbH, step-grate

Turbine: MAN Diesel & Turbo SE

Steam: 29 t/h, 28 bar, 480oC

Flue-gas cleaning: Urbas GmbH

Investment: c. EUR 23 million

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