Newcomer challenges the biodryer belt market

A few years ago, Valmet decided to combine its expertise in biodryer manufacturing with its industrial fabric experience and started producing biodryer belts. Today, Valmet has delivered several biodryer belts with good experiences and is ready to enter the global market with its new product.

Biodryers are used for drying biomass, such as bark, forest residue and sawdust. Dried biomass can be utilized as a valuable energy source in gasification processes, pelletizing and power boilers. Valmet’s reliable dryer belt technology ensures that the end material is highly dry, as well as easy to maintain and handle. The dryer utilizes secondary heat – no primary energy is needed.

“It was a natural step to start producing belts for biodryers. With our existing machinery, we can offer our customers belts up to ten meters wide. In developing dryer belts, we utilize our know-how from paper machine clothing and advanced seaming techniques. For example, zipper-aided seaming makes it easier to install belts weighing as much as 1,400 kilos – which also means it’s safer and faster,” explains Tapio Salminen, Product Sales Manager at Valmet.

Biodryer belts for power plants

Examples of Valmet’s biodryer belt deliveries so far include a combined heat and power plant in Vaskiluoto, Finland, and several plants in China. Vaskiluoto was, in fact, the first plant to use a Valmet biodryer belt, and Valmet also handled the installation. “We have been using Valmet’s biodryer belt for almost two years, and our experiences are very positive. The belt has carried fuel used to produce 750 GWh of energy. When we were looking into the belt change in 2016, Valmet’s experts demonstrated their good understanding of our operating conditions and material requirements. The co-operation has been very smooth at every stage,” says Janne Österback, Technical Manager at Vaskiluodon Voima.

Last year, Valmet delivered a start-up biodryer belt 7.2 meters wide and 125.7 meters long for Metsä Group’s next-generation bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. In addition to high-quality pulp, the mill produces a broad range of other bioproducts, such as tall oil, turpentine, bioelectricity and wood fuel.

All power plants that use bark, sawdust or woodchips as an energy source for either gasification, pelletizing or power boilers can benefit from Valmet’s biodryer belts.

“We believe that companies will invest in sustainable production in the future, and the demand for biomass handling to serve different purposes will grow. In addition to a durable and high-quality product, we are able to offer delivery times of just three weeks even to our European customers – I think it’s a huge benefit in a market where products are normally shipped from Asia,” says Salminen.

Biodryer belt, what is it?

Biodryer technology is used for drying of biomass, such as bark, forest residue, sawdust, bagass, etc. Dried biomass can be utilized as an energy source is gasification processes, pelletizing and power boilers. The dryer belt is designed to remove water efficiently by evaporating moisture from wet biomass.