Artikel in der Fachzeitschrift

2020-08-05

IMG 20181021 150516 Pinnacle.jpg

Das Pelletwerk "Pinnacle Renewable Energy" in Kanada arbeitet erfolgreich mit stela-Trocknern. Nachfolgend ein Bericht dazu, den das Fachmagazin "Wood Bioenergy" kürzlich dazu veröffentlicht hat.

Almost as if it is hiding among Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s attention-grabbing greenfield projects of late in Entwistle, Alberta and Smithers, British Columbia, plus Pinnacle’s partnership with Westervelt in the Southern U.S. pine belt and a majority ownership of the pellet plant in Aliceville, Ala.—the Pinnacle pellet plant in Lavington, BC stands strong on its own. The 300,000 tonne facility, co-located with a Tolko Industries sawmill, was commissioned in September 2015—the fourth greenfield undertakings for the Canadian pellet leader—and has run steady for going on four years.

A departure from the drum drying technology prevalent in other Pinnacle plants at the time, Lavington relies on two low heat, low speed Stela flat belt dryers to further process sawmill dust that is blown over the railroad tracks from Tolko’s mill. A seamless process now, Lavington Mill Manager Jamie Colliss states, more than 15% of the fiber intake is from Tolko next door. He wishes it could be more—noting the ease and almost second nature in accepting the dust and shavings via steel tubing in the wood yard.

Like other Pinnacle plants, Lavington only processes sawmill residuals from Tolko and other area mills that truck fiber in. Sawdust and shavings are stored separately in the fiber yard, only the sawdust is processed through the Stela dryers with mixing of fiber streams happening after drying. Colliss says the choice to go with a belt dryer was a departure for Pinnacle—most other mills were running traditional drum dryers at the time. Going with the belt dryer was the right decision, he adds, and obviously the Pinnacle corporate team agrees—Stela belt dryers have since been installed in the new 125,000 tonne Smithers facility with technical modifications based on the experience at Lavington, as well as planned to be installed in the recently announce Williams Lake plant upgrade and expansion.

While there was a learning curve with the natural gas dryer that produces 14.9 tonnes/hr., Colliss says after about 18 months the process was appreciably well tuned. “We continue to get better,” he adds, “but overall the dryers are fine-tuned and it’s
an excellent drying system from the safety side.” Low temperature means lower fire danger. The dryers heat to between 100-110°C, where a traditional drum dryer might have an inlet temperature of 450°C. Incoming raw material moisture is at 45% and is
dried down to 8%. The belt system offers more automation possibility.

Safety Pursuit

For Pinnacle, safety isn’t just important, it’s a core value. The lower temperature dryers are just one piece of the design in Lavington that was done with safety at the forefront. Colliss says one of the things that he admires most about his employees is their embracing of not just the lip service to safety as a core value, but their commitment to living the lifestyle.

To that end, Pinnacle hosts “All In” Owning Safety Days at each plant site once every two years. For eight hours production ceases and all 32 employees gather. Senior management from Vancouver will be on hand, as will various other entities, such as the railroad police and WorkSafe BC, the province’s safety regulator, to give presentations and talk about safety. Colliss says the day really brings the team, families, partners and vendors together to show that Pinnacle truly cares about making Lavington a
safe place to work. Scott Bax, Pinnacle’s newly promoted COO, says, “innovative ways to engage employees on Owning Safety, like Pinnacle’s Safety Champions Academy is an example of Pinnacle learning about safety challenges from Pinnacle and Pinnacle engaging employees on the value of caring about working safe. For ourselves, our families, and our teammates.”

In addition, Colliss’s on site staff is challenged to do additional training of their choice each year—though it must apply to what they are doing—one or two of these courses help the employees create value. “We invest in our people by training them. Our goal is to continually get better,” he emphasizes.

The facility uses a Digital Action Tracking System (DATS) to allow employees a forum to communicate about things they are seeing, opportunities for improvement, job observations and more. Colliss says DATS is focused on creating an environment to engage employees on safety. The employees also have the chance to share things that are really good, and commend each other for a job well done where they went through all the proper procedures.

On the day of WoodBio’s visit to Lavingiton, the facility celebrated 800 days with no lost time accidents. “People are the most important part of the operation. Anyone can build a plant, but without the people it will just sit here. They
have to believe in it. We want to truly own safety,” Colliss says. “Day in and day out, we see what they do, and how by being safe they make Pinnacle Lavington successful.”

He is proud of the plant’s team, as most are new to the industry—many coming from the oil patch. Though, as part of Pinnacle’s Investment in its team, there is significant focus on promoting from within. For example, Colliss says both of his production supervisors came from hourly positions, one from Burns Lake and one from the Lavington facility, and Dylan Leclerc and Eric Jarvis are great examples of values based leaders.

Safe Design

With a focus on safety, Pinnacle Lavington was designed to mitigate as much dust as possible. Allied Blower supplied the ventilation system in the facility. Lavington has five SonicAire fans installed, with five more to be installed in late summer. Colliss says it’s evident in the plant’s design the importance of trying to control dust: “It’s easy to keep clean, because the plant processes were designed to be airtight. Eliminating the source of dust is the most efficient way to keep a plant clean.”

In addition to SonicAire fans and dust control in the design, Pinnacle partnered with CV Technology to help fortify the plant focusing on three specific areas: the drag chain conveyors, the hammermills and the dust collection system. These are considered high risk areas with regard to a potential dust explosion. CV Technology supplied free rupture vents to the outdoor drag chain conveyors that were installed per NFPA 68 guidelines. The free rupture vents act as an explosion relief system that allows the burning material and combustion pressures to release to a safe location outdoors, thus preventing permanent structural damage. The indoor drag chain conveyors, however, were more complex as free rupture vents cannot be installed indoors without causing additional hazards themselves.

Thus, CV Technology supplied Interceptor-LT flameless vents also installed per NFPA 68’s guidelines. The indoor explosion vents operate under the same premise as the free explosion vents. However, instead of exhausting to the ambient environment, they exhaust into a large cavity made of stainless steel mesh. This cavity of stainless steel mesh provides a breathable membrane that allows for the initial pressure wave to be exhausted through. However, it retains all the burning material and additionally acts as a heat sink, absorbing the heat of the combustion reaction and thus limiting its development.

The hammermill systems are protected with free vents ducted to a safe location outdoors; however, because these mills are interconnected to other pieces of process equipment via ducts and chutes, explosion isolation also had to be utilized in order to prevent the spread and speed of explosion propagation. For explosion isolation, CV Technology utilized its Interceptor-HRD chemical suppression system—that consists of a pressure detector installed on the hammermill plenum being isolated, coupled with highspeed suppression bottles installed on the interconnected duct work. The high speed bottles are similar in design to a standard fire extinguisher, but are designed and tested to activate and deliver the suppressant material within milliseconds
upon receiving a signal from the pressure detector that an event has occurred. Upon activation, these bottles inject an innocuous powder into the ductwork being isolated, thereby creating a barrier to prevent explosion propagation. For the dust collection system, this same combination of explosion vents coupled with chemical isolation was also utilized.

Another important part of the safety equation is the LED technology full-site lighting design from DAGR. Having previously worked with Pinnacle in retrofitting several other facilities with LED lighting, DAGR’s final design covered a wide range of areas and applications, including exterior lighting, high-dust environment storage tent areas and the process building, as well as the office and emergency and exits. Exterior mounting heights and lighting angles were carefully adjusted to minimize glareand obtrusive light outside of the property.

As part of the design process with a focus on safety and environmental stewardship, Cogent Industrial Technologies was brought onto the project to help establish initial plant standards and provide system design and Integration services for the entire plant. Using Cogent’s technical expertise, the plant is equipped with a fully integrated plant IT network, wireless data technologies and highly intuitive operator interfaces. Additionally, Cogent provided on-site support to help the plant achieve a quick ramp-up to full production and smooth transition to operation.

Mill Flow

More than 15% of Lavington’s intake is Tolko sawdust and shavings blown over. The rest, as many as 50 trucks per day of sawdust and shavings, are brought into the facility via B trains or walking floor trailers. Drivers unload via one Phelps tipper.

Dust and shavings are stored in two MegaDome pre-engineered fabric structures—provided by BuildWorks Construction—on 10 ft. high concrete lock-block walls, creating a capacity of 10,000 cubic meters.

Plant operators, in preparation for the Stela dryers,  mix sawdust in the wood yard; depending on how dry the fiber is dictates how fast the belt dryer will operate as well as the temperature. Shavings are mixed after the sawdust is dried.

From the mixing of the product streams, material is conveyed to two Bliss 4460 hammermills and then to the pelletizer building. Raw material is pressed into pellets using seven Andritz 26LM pellet presses before cooling and conveying to rail loadout. Pinnacle’s relationship with Andritz is strong with over 50 pellet mills in service. Continental Conveyors supplied the mix of conveyors throughout the plant as well as storage and reclaim solutions.

Lavington has minimal finished pellet storage on-site. Finished pellets are stored in silos equal to the capacity of one 100 MT rail car. Operators will load one silo and once its full switch over to the other, then load rail cars. Rail cars travel to the Port of Vancouver and are shipped internationally via FibreCo terminal for exporting.

The entire plant shuts down every two weeks for a minimum of 12 hours for scheduled maintenance and improvement projects.

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