Xergi has developed X-chopper® to create a solution for the pre-treatment of deep litter and other challenging biomasses for biogas plants. Now the technology has been granted a European patent, while Xergi has made X-chopper® even more efficient.
Xergi has been given a European patent on its technology for the pre-treatment of biomass for biogas plants, X-chopper®.
"We began developing X-chopper® because we were missing a technology that could pre-treat deep litter and other troublesome biomasses in continuous operations, and we are pleased that the technology has now obtained the European patent," says CEO Jørgen Ballermann of Xergi.
The patent secures Xergi the rights to the solution that enables X-chopper® to continuously pre-treat deep litter and other troublesome biomasses without having to make frequent stops to empty and clean the pre-treatment unit.
Development engineer Henrik Kjeldgaard Hansen from Xergi explains that deep litter, for example, has a dry matter content that varies considerably, which makes shredding of the material extremely challenging. This was the problem that Xergi focused on when they started the development of the X-chopper®.
"The problem with the existing solutions that operate in batches is that they need to be emptied and refilled, and that the deep litter sticks to the sides of the equipment. As a result, it was difficult to empty the crushed material out of the pre-treatment unit. By creating an auger that leads the pre-treated deep litter out of the X-chopper, we can ensure continuous operations and avoid the material sticking to the sides. It also makes the treatment time adjustable via the unit’s control system. We can then adjust handling time according to the length of treatment which the specific materials require," he explains.
Has made X-chopper® more efficient
When deep litter is added to an X-chopper®, the biomass is macerated by rotating chains inside the X-chopper®.
The design of the individual link in the chain has great significance to how the biomass is macerated, and how long the links can last this rough handling.
"Because of this, our R&D department has carried out a development project focusing on the chain's design. This has led to a new design of what we call a 'hammer link'. Our testing shows that X-chopper® is now better at macerating the biomass, and the link seems to last longer," explains Karsten Klit, after-sales manager at Xergi.
Chains with the new design have been tested in the X-chopper® in operation at Vegger Biogas in Denmark, and Xergi is now in use in existing X-choppers in Denmark, France, UK and USA, and in the units that are sold to new customers.
With this, the already efficient X-chopper® will now be an even stronger pre-treatment technology for difficult biomasses.
Optimisation of production and economy
This project to further develop the X-chopper is in alignment with Xergi's strategy to focus on the optimisation of the biogas plant's production and economy.
"Our focus includes continual optimisation of the pre-treatment of biomass, because this helps to ensure the biogas plants a faster digestion of the biomass. This leads to a more efficient way for the biogas plants to use of their digester capacity and ultimately improves the operations and business economics at the plant," concludes Karsten Klit.