NDC Technologies delivers moisture measurement system to Zilkha

By NDC Technologies | January 20, 2016

NDC Technologies, a leading global provider of precision measurement and control solutions, has delivered a comprehensive, in-process near-infrared (NIR) moisture monitoring system to one of the world’s largest producers of advanced black pellet fuel, Zilkha Biomass Energy. The system solution includes the installation of multiple NDC CM710e NIR moisture gauges with HMIs and operator workstations to better control the quality of the company’s flagship biofuel product and to improve process performance. Zilkha Biomass Energy produces the Zilkha Black Pellet, a proprietary water-resistant biomass pellet that is transportable and can be stored like coal.

“NDC’s NIR moisture measurement system has been a valuable tool to our plant,” says Charles Daw, plant manager at Zilkha Biomass Selma. “Their system helps us to identify process changes in real time and adjust to those changes quickly to optimize results.”

NDC’s NIR moisture measurement system is installed at Zilkha’s new biomass pellet plant in Selma, Alabama. Six NDC CM710e NIR on-line gauges are installed at various points in the process. The CM710e gauges before and after the drying stages capture continuous, accurate, repeatable and real-time moisture measurements of the wood chips in process, allowing for better control and higher quality to ensure product meets target moisture specifications. The CM710e gauges after the dryer and at other process locations are equipped with NDC’s PowderVision sampling system. This system is installed in an enclosed duct with sampling cup which allows for the gravity-fed wood chips to be effectively collected, measured and pneumatically returned to the process on a continuous basis. NDC’s HMIs provide supervisory access to the networked CM710e gauges and enable plant personnel to easily setup, calibrate and manage products. The HMIs provide feedback communications via Ethernet TCP/IP to Zilkha’s PLC for process monitoring and control.

Early reports indicate that NDC’s comprehensive measurement system is delivering immediate benefits to Zilkha. The implementation of precision, on-line instrumentation has eliminated the need for time-consuming, off-line gravimetric oven testing to confirm moisture levels. And, the CM710e measurement system has enabled Zilkha’s processing plant to enhance pellet quality, improve production efficiency and optimize its drying processes. NDC expects Zilkha to realize a short-term ROI and long-term, bottom-line benefits.

Prior to the Selma plant installation, NDC has also implemented two CM710e moisture gauges at Zilkha’s pellet plant in Crockett, Texas.