KWS Manufacturing

Stainless Steel Screw Feeder to Meter Biomass to High Temperature Reactor

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Stainless Steel Screw Feeder to Meter Biomass to High Temperature ReactorPlant Name and Location

Michigan Renewable Carbon
Gwinn, MI

General Description

Biogenic Reagents is a producer of low cost, high performance carbon products made from renewable resources such as waste and biofuels. The company’s flagship production facility, Michigan Renewable Carbon, produces specialty carbon products for emissions control, metals production, and energy generation industries. As part of a major expansion, Michigan Renewable Carbon needed a screw feeder to meter wood chips and sawdust into an indirect fired rotary calciner. KWS worked with Michigan Renewable Carbon as well as Barr Engineering, a third-party engineering consultant to develop an outstanding solution on this project.

Design Parameters

  1. Product Type: Wood Chips and Sawdust
  2. Material Density: 10-15 Lbs. per Cubic Foot
  3. Capacity: 1800 Cubic Feet per Hour
  4. Duty: 24 Hours per Day, 7 Days per Week

KWS Advantages

Stainless Steel Screw Feeder to Meter Biomass to High Temperature Reactor

Barr Engineering contacted KWS at the start of the project. Michigan Renewable Carbon was seeking a knowledgeable manufacturer to build a special high temperature stainless steel screw feeder that could be delivered in time to meet their installation schedule. KWS has a tremendous amount of design and manufacturing experience for solving difficult applications such as feeding bulk materials to dryers and calciners at elevated temperatures. The operating temperature of the calciner was 900 to 1,100-degrees F. KWS chose 321-Stainless Steel for the application based on equipment operating temperature and thermal cycling. Funding for this project had already been acquired and Michigan Renewable Carbon was anxious to get their system up and running as quickly as possible. Michigan Renewable Carbon ordered the equipment in late-January and required the system to be delivered by the second week of March. The fast delivery schedule would be a project management, engineering, and manufacturing challenge but projects of this sort are no problem for KWS.

Special Features

The high temperature Reactor Screw Feeder is a critical component of the carbon making process. KWS designed and manufactured the screw feeder to be very reliable and exceed the feed rate requirements of the application. Engineers from Michigan Renewable Carbon, Barr Engineering and KWS worked closely together to ensure a successful project.

The screw feeder utilized a tubular housing with a variable pitch screw to meter the flooded material evenly into the reactor. The discharge end of the screw feeder projected into the reactor and was fully exposed to 900 to 1,100-degrees F. KWS supported the screw inside the reactor with a special Hastelloy end bearing. Hastelloy is high nickel alloy that possesses an exceptional combination of oxidation resistance and high-temperature strength. The drive end of the screw feeder was engineered to handle expansion & contraction due to temperature fluctuations as well as thrust requirements. KWS used double pillow block bearings to stabilize the screw on the inlet end. A flanged gland shaft seal with high temperature packing kept the product contained in the screw feeder. Since this equipment was installed in an environment where wood dust was present, KWS provided an explosion-proof motor. KWS also understood that operator safety was a concern so the entire drive end of the screw feeder was guarded to protect personnel from the rotating drive shaft and high temperatures.


"The feeder is working well and thank you for delivering it so quickly."

Nick Rupert, PE, Mechanical Engineer – Barr Engineering

Wood Chips

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