In the biomass pellet world, one core technology provider stands apart from its peers. Located in Reinbek, just outside Hamburg, Germany’s largest port, Amandus Kahl GmbH & Co. KG is a well-known and respected supplier. For many, the company is known for its flat-die presses, belt dryers, and pan grinders. But the chances are that the beans in your coffee and that bake-off croissant were processed using equipment from an Amandus Kahl Group company.
Not to mention the fragrance in your aftershave or perfume. Indeed it is easy to spot a Kahl installation at a wood pellet plant since it is unmistakably conspicuous with its small footprint – a vertical flat-die solution in a world where, with the exception of a few Far East contemporaries, the remainder of biomass pelleting technology peers provide ring-die alternatives.
From foundry to a global process engineering group
Like several of its respected colleagues, Amandus Kahl has a long solid history of providing pellet solutions to the animal feed industry, since 1925 according to the company’s own accounts. The company was originally established in 1876 as a foundry located in Stade just outside Hamburg before relocating to Reinbek in 1964.
Today Amandus Kahl is one of five companies belonging to the privately held Amandus Kahl Group. It has grown in recent decades to become a leading industrial process engineering, machine manufacturing and plant construction group employing around 950 staff at two sites, in Bremen and Reinbek.
With a presence in over 60 countries around the world, the Amandus Kahl Group also spans across a seemingly wide range of industries and sectors including food processing, animal- and aqua-feed, oilseed, cereal and rice processing, coffee, cacao and nut processing, fragrances, biomass and recycling, pharmaceuticals and fine chemical industries.
The company’s modern history and first foray into biomass pelleting for fuel purposes came about in 1974 when it was taken over and managed by the current owners, brothers Joachim and Jan Behrmann. By then the company had already subsidiaries in the Netherlands and France catering to the animal feed industry.
It was also around about that time when we sold our first plant to pelletise wood residues for energy purposes, to a sawmill in Montana in the United States if I recall correctly, recounted Joachim Behrmann, Managing Director, Kahl Holding GmbH when Bioenergy International visited.
Although the Montana plant is no longer operational, it marked the beginning of a journey that has led to biomass pellets for energy accounting for an estimated 30 percent share by value in 2018 of all Amandus Kahl pelleting process solutions supplied to all sectors.
Customer-centric “Made in Germany”
The how and why Amandus Kahl Group has diversified by acquisition over the last few decades is a fascinating story in itself.
Click here to continue reading this article which was first published in Bioenergy International Pellets Special no. 5. Note that as a magazine subscriber you get access to the e-magazine and articles like this before the print edition reaches your desk!