EV chargers come in all shapes and sizes to fit a variety of use cases, but we’ve never heard of a wood-burning EV charger until now.
Florida-based Air Burners, a manufacturer of air curtain burner systems, collaborated with Rolls-Royce and Volvo Construction Equipment to develop a portable machine that turns biomass waste into energy.
The BioCharger is designed to provide off-grid power from vegetative waste. It uses air curtain technology to burn the vegetative matter without releasing harmful particulate matter into the atmosphere. Then, it converts the residual heat energy into electric energy and stores it in a connected Battery Storage Module. The accompanying charging mechanism allows the stored energy to be used for off-grid EV and machinery charging.
The obvious application is for remote logging or land-clearing operations that use electric vehicles and/or machinery. Of course, we’d rather the trees were left alone to go about their arboreal business, but if they must be cleared, it’s better that the waste be turned into usable energy, rather than burned or left to decompose, which releases particulate matter and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
According to Air Burners, the BioCharger can permanently eliminate up to 20 tons of vegetative waste per hour without emitting greenhouse emissions like methane and black carbon. The Battery Storage Module, which Air Burners developed in consultation with Rolls-Royce, can store 450 kWh of energy, and the attached charging station can recharge battery-electric machines and tools, from chainsaws to excavators. The BioCharger can store enough energy daily to recharge three to six battery-powered machines, and it retains enough energy to start itself and continue the cycle the next day.
Unlike biomass power plants, the BioCharger is fully portable—it can be relocated to a new site and be operational in approximately 6 hours. The machine accepts whole logs, root balls, pallets, crates orany other clean wood or vegetative waste without sorting, crushing or grinding.
“While electric machinery becomes increasingly popular in the fight against climate change, when it comes to forest management, we must have practical solutions for charging electric machinery away from traditional power sources,” said Brian O’Connor, President of Air Burners. “The Air Burners BioCharger provides that solution and manages wood waste, all done in an economical and environmentally conscious way.”
“The BioCharger is a unique application for our mtu EnergyPack battery energy storage system that I think shows just how versatile energy storage can be,” said Kevin McKinney, Sales Director at Rolls-Royce Solutions America.
Volvo Construction Equipment teamed with Air Burners to test the charging capabilities of its new 23-ton crawler excavator, the EC230 Electric, which is currently in pilot testing across North America ahead of its commercial launch next year.
“This collaboration with Air Burners for the BioCharger allows us to demonstrate one of the more non-conventional sources to fast-charge our equipment in off-grid locations,” said Dr. Ray Gallant, VP of sustainability and productivity services, Volvo Construction Equipment.
The three companies will host a demonstration event for the BioCharger in early 2024.
Source: Air Burners