Combustion Systems

Woody Biomass Fuel Sources

Wood wastes of all types make excellent biomass fuels. Messersmith offers a variety of biomass combustion system technologies to efficiently burn your fuel. Our boiler systems can be used to generate hot water for a hydronic application, low or high pressure steam, or forced air. We also offer combined heat & power (CHP) systems for applications in need of electrical generation.

Many different wood species and moisture contents can make a good fuel source. Ideal fuel has no sticks over 6” in length and no large, unbreakable chips over one-half inch by two inches by three inches (½” x 2” x 3”). Messersmith conveying systems come with a fuel sorter that will sort out larger sticks.

Green Fuel

Green fuel sources are typically freshly cut wood sources with higher moisture content. Messersmith combustion systems are able to burn most species that have been cut and processed the same day, eliminating the need to pre-dry. Examples of green fuel would be green mill-grade chips, green sawdust, and whole tree chips. These fuel sources could come from a forest products operation, municipal or urban wood waste, sawmill, or other processing facilities. Additional information on green fuel combustion systems can be found here.

Dry Fuel

Dry fuel sources are typically kiln dried residues from sawmills, lumber mills, veneer mills, wood pallet or container manufacturing, hardwood flooring manufacturing, furniture manufacturing, etc. These fuel sources can be wood chips, sawdust, planer shavings, ground pallets or crates, veneer scraps, or other wood based biomass.   Messersmith combustion systems can also burn dry chips and pellets.

An important characteristic of wood fuel is its heating value. Certain species of wood are denser and provide more heat per cord. The moisture content of the wood also influences the heating value. Additional information on dry fuel combustion systems can be found here.


Heating Values per Cord (Million BTU)

Source: Great Lakes Regional Woodchip Energy Program Wood Heating Handbook

High 17-22 Medium 14-17 Low 11-14
Live oak Holly Black spruce
Shagbark hickory Pond pine Hemlock
Black locust Nut pine Catalpa
Dogwood Loblolly pine Red spider
Slash pine Tamarack Tulip poplar
Hop hornbeam Shortleaf pine Red fir
Persimmon Western larch Sitka spruce
Shadbush Juniper Black willow
Apple Paper birch Large-tooth aspen
White oak Red maple Butternut
Honey locust Cherry Ponderosa pine
Black birch American elm Noble fir
Yew Black gum Redwood
Blue beech Sycamore Quaking aspen
Red oak Gray birch Sugar pine
Rock elm Douglas fir White pine
Sugar maple Pitch pine Balsam fir
American beech Sassafras Cottonwood
Yellow birch Magnolia Basswood
Longleaf pine Red cedar Western red cedar
White ash Norway pine Balsam poplar
Oregon ash Bald cypress White spruce
Black walnut Chestnut  

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