"In the first year alone, the plant ran for 8,240 hours. We use wood power to generate clean energy for our boarding house and a local heating network, and on top of that, we have a further source of income from the wood chip drying", Obernosterer family.
The appropriately styled pension "Haus Blatthofer" is located in the beautiful Lesach Valley. Ten beds in apartments - some of them completely furnished - offer a pleasant wellness holiday in a typical rural style. Besides, the HKA 30 wood cogeneration plant supplies heat to a local heat network for ten private homes and the drying hopper.
In June 2015, Anton Obernosterer put his wood cogeneration plant into operation. Since its commissioning, the HKA 30 has been operating for approx. 11,000 hours. The utilisation of the plant in the first year of operation was about 94% with 8,240 hours. A wood chip heating system covers any possible downtimes as well as peak loads during the winter.
Wood chip management as a further source of income
The pension's own eight hectare forest forms the basis for the free wood used as fuel. As the management of it is difficult, additional wood must be purchased. A simple hopper drying dries the wood chips produced by an external shredder operation. Wood is dried with the heat from the CHP plant and resold. This gives the Obernosterer family further source of income. In addition the electricity is fed into the grid for remuneration.
Plant schematic: (Click on the photos to magnify)
Storage depot for buffering larger amounts of wet and dry wood chips as well as hay: 250 - 300 m2
Hopper drying for wood chips and hay: 100 m2
The wood gasifier is directly supplied by the storage hopper with wood chips.
The storage hopper has an eight metre long and 4 metre wide push floor..
Conversation with Anton Obernosterer about the plant configuration:
Hi Anton, the village of St. Lorenzen is quite small and your former farm is also tightly framed by the surrounding buildings. You also have a sloping site here. At first glance, the entire plant looks like a small factory in an old barn. How does the logistics of the plant work? Let's start with the production of wood chips...
Since there only is an access road around the barn, the wood chips are produced outside the village. This is a local community cooperation. The logs from the adjacent wooded areas are jointly purchased, stored and shredded for a good price. The own, difficult forest management is therefore not really necessary. The shredded goods are then delivered with a loading vehicle to my farm and immediately unloaded.
What happens now has essentially been planned and built by the company of Hubert Weissteiner - a friend. How does the entire process work?
There is a crane below the roof, which can traverse the barn and also swivel out. The crane unloads the loading vehicle, no matter whether it is wood chips or hay and deposits the still moist product in the central storage area in the barn. From there, the product to be dried is moved into the drying hopper. The crane moves the dry wood chips into the adjacent storage hopper with the push floor. Dried hay will then be returned to the storage area or directly loaded onto a loading vehicle. The drying of wood chips or hay is timed in order to utilise the storage area accordingly.
How do you prepare the wood chips?
The push floor inside the storage hopper conveys the wood chips to a transverse auger. The subsequent conveyor system then discharges the fines and long parts as the delivered wood chip quality can easily vary. Fines and long parts end up in the storage for the wood chip heating system. In the push floor, a final drying process is taking place ensuring a perfect wood chip quality after the sieving. The good wood chip quality is the basis for the reliable operation as the local heat network has to be supplied with heat and preferably without failing.
Your "electricity and heat factory“ is really well-thought out; how must time do you have to put in for this?
For the operation of the wood gasifier as well as the CHP only 2 to 3 hours maximum. Often, the machines operate non-stop for 14 days. Since I dry wood chips and hay during the warm season, this is where actual work is to be done , depending on the volume of the product to be dried.
Photos of the plant: (Click on the photos to magnify)