Drachten, Netherlands – For a great many reasons, the conveyor belts used to convey coal or

Drachten, Netherlands – For a great many reasons, the conveyor belts used to convey coal or other bulk materials are highly unlikely to be suitable for carrying biomass. Sadly some very expensive lessons are already being learnt. Here Les Williams of Dunlop Conveyor Belting discusses the essential and very specific characteristics that biomass-carrying belts must have in order to perform safely and efficiently. The growing pressure to reduce CO2 emissions has seen an enormous growth in the transhipment of biomass. With the Kyoto Protocol and the EU’s continuing intention to reduce carbon footprints of its member states, more and more countries are making the push towards biofuel. In fact the EU is determined to achieve 63% of heat generation by biomass by 2020. In the Port of Amsterdam alone, the boom in biomass volumes means that the port could see handling of biomass products rise from its current 1.5 million tonnes per annum to 6 million tonnes by 2020. At the same time, there continues to be a parallel decline in the volume of coal transhipment. To the uninitiated, a commonly held belief is that biomass is simply compressed wood waste that is formed into pellets. Actually, i...