familie craccolaraWood gasifier at over 1,600 metres above sea level

Above San Casssiano lies the property of the Crazzolara family, a dairy farm at 1,600 m above sea level, which has covered its energy requirements with a Spanner Re² HKA 45 since December 2012. Two drying systems for hay and wood chips, two holiday homes, the private home, an external garage with workshop as well as the agricultural building incl. cow barn get their heat and electricity from the Biomass CHP.

Wood gasifier is convincing with long running time at dairy farm

For a lowlander, the view around the property is breathtaking. Only a few metres separate the farm from the enormous massif of the Dolomites. From mountain climbing to skiing in Alta Badia, all you need to do is step out of your door. The wood gasifier of the Crazzolara family has already operated for more than 32,000 hours. With about 8,100 hours per year, the utilisation of the plant is 92.5 %. A gas heating system covers any possible peak loads or plant shutdowns.

Wood chip management:

50 hectares of their own forest would be the perfect fuel supply for the family's HKA 45. But the unique mountain landscape makes the forestry operation very difficult. The local authorities have also denied the construction of agricultural roads to conserve the landscape. Logs are purchased externally to add to the own wood supply and they are shredded on a regular basis using an external shredder. If wood chips can be purchased at a low price, they only need to be dried. A sieving of the wood chips is not necessary as the shredded product meets the requirements of the HKA 45.

Plant schematic:

Top view (left), wood chip drying clamp silo with drying system

plant schematic 1 crazzolaraplant schematic 2 crazzolara

Storage depot for buffering larger amounts of wet wood chips: 200 m³ Wood chip drying via accessible drying floor: 50 m³
Storage hopper wood chips: 60 m³
Hay drying: 64 m³
Large hay storage for the winter
The wood gasifier is directly supplied by the storage hopper with wood chips.

Conversation with the Crazzolara family about the gasification plant data:

Hi there, the exposed location and the compact farm won't tell you at first glance how the wood chip management works. Where do you dry your hay and wood chips?
The wood chips are stored outside underneath a large shed. Right next to it, there is an accessible drying floor. Here, the moist wood chips are deposited similar to a sloping floor and then after the drying transported through a flap into the storage hopper below at the rear end. Since the warm drying air (about 50° C) flows from below through the storage hopper and the drying floor, the stockpile of wood chips are basically further dried inside the closed hopper. Moist nests are therefore ruled out.

How do you deal with the sea level?
The altitude affects the electrical output of the HKA 45; our 5.7 litre GM turbo motor has about 40 kW.
We manage well with the heat but sometimes we could use even more. In the summer we have to completely dry and store the hay for our dairy cows. In the winter we only dry the wood chips. The stockpile of dry wood chips for the Biomass CHP in the hopper is sufficient for about a week. We also dry hay for sale.

How much time do you have to budget in total?
The Biomass CHP requires very little time. Of course, we have to put in the actual work for the preparation of the hay. The production of wood chips also requires several hours of work per week.

Photos of the plant: (Click on the photos to magnify)