IBA 2009: Principals of Organics Granulation - A Technical Overview of Fertilizer Production from Manures and other Waste Streams

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Presented by FEECO International at the 2009 Institute for Briquetting & Agglomeration Conference held in San Antonio, Tx.

Presented by FEECO International at the 2009 Institute for Briquetting & Agglomeration Conference held in San Antonio, Tx.

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  • Product: in case of organic fertilizer – consider nutrient availability, water solubility


  • 1. Organics granulationBio-Fertilizer & Value-added Waste streams
    31st Conference of the Institute for Briquetting and Agglomeration
    San Antonio, Texas, USA
    September 29th, 2009
    Presented by:
    Brett Rittenhouse, FEECO International
    (920) 468-1000
  • 2. Principles of Organics Granulation
    A Technical Overview of Fertilizer Production from Manures and other Waste Streams
  • 3. FEECO – Overview
  • 4. Who We Are
    Worldwide supplier of process equipment
    Specializing in Thermal Processing, Agglomeration, Material Handling, and Process Systems
    Founded in 1951 as Fertilizer Engineering and Equipment Company.
    By the 1960s, we had diversified into Mining, Minerals, Pulp & Paper, and Waste Recycling – and became FEECO International.
    Privately held company with about 80 employees
  • 5. What We Do
    Collaborate with Customers
    Process Development
    Feasibility Analysis
    Pilot Plant Testing
    Financial Modeling
    Plant Design and Engineering
    Detailed Equipment and Plant Design
    Equipment and System Supply
    Project Management – single equipment to turnkey supply
  • 6. Strengths of our Team
    Engineering Staff from all major disciplines:
    Customer-focused Project Management
  • 7. Laboratory Services
    Our pilot plant can be set up for testing on a single piece of equipment or multiple pieces as a continuous process tying together agglomeration, drying, sizing, and recycling capabilities.
    Batch Testing/Feasibility
    Pilot Plant Testing (500-1000 lb/hr)
    Tolling Plant (24 hr Production Runs)
    Analytical Testing
  • 8. The 30,000’ View
    Organics Recycling
  • 9. Recycling?
    “Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air and water pollution, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.” – Wikipedia, September, 2009.
  • 10. Organic Waste Streams
    Agricultural Waste (Manures, Composts)
    Industrial Waste
    DAF Sludge, Food Waste, Restaurant Waste
    Municipal Waste (Biosolids, Composts)
  • 11. The Ag-Waste Dilemma
    Economic pressure pushing towards herd growth
    Prohibitively high land costs lead to herd growth without adequate land to dispose of waste
    Nutrient levels saturated on fields where it is economically viable to spread
    Excess nutrient run-off leads to surface and ground water pollution
    Nutrient value of manure does not get fully realized
  • 12. The Ag-Waste Opportunity
    Source of macro and micro nutrients
    Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Boron
    Source of Bio-Energy Production – Anaerobic Digestion
    Organic industry as a growth market
  • 13. Waste Transformation: The Need
    Fertilizer demand is increasing
    Despite recent setbacks, non-renewable fertilizer prices will continue to rise
    US production capacity is shrinking
    World food demand is increasing
    Increasing competition for land resources (development, energy crops, etc.)
  • 14. The Organic Food Industry
    U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1B in 1990 to $20B in 2007, 20.9% growth in 2006.
    U.S. sales of non-food organic products were $17.7B in 2006, 26% growth in 2006.
    Source: Organic Trade Association
  • 15. Fertilizers from Organic Wastes
    Generally considered a low-analysis fertilizer
    Macronutrient content < 10% by weight.
    Wide range of feedstocks:
    Slurries (<10% solids) – Relatively dry, composted material (>80% solids)
    The drier feed material can be finely divided and relatively dusty
    Limits application in the field.
    Traditional granulation approaches can be implemented to improve the handling, storage, spreading, and utilization characteristics of the material.
  • 16. Organic Waste Utilization - Recap
    Major Driving Force: Growth!
    Demand Side Needs
    Rising Fertilizer Costs
    Trade Imbalances
    Local and Secure Source of Nutrients
    Supply Side Needs
    Increasing Disposal Problems
    Environmental Regulation
    Need for safe (and profitable?) means of “Nutrient Recycling”
  • 17. Fertilizers from Organic Wastes
  • 18. Granulation Process Approaches
    Organics Granulation
  • 19. Organic Granulation Systems
    Mixer – Drum Dryer Granulation
    Pin Mixer
    Paddle Mixer
    Mixer – Pan Pelletizer – Drum Dryer Granulation
    Dry Pellet Mill & Crumbler
  • 20. Mixer – Dryer Granulation
  • 21. Mixer – Dryer Granulation
    Mixer selection based on feedstock analysis
    Pin mixer for finely divided particles (chicken litter, compost, etc.)
    Pug Mill/Paddle Mixer for sludges, pastes, and filter cakes.
    Dewatered liquid manures from centrifuge, DAF effluent
  • 22. Pin Mixers
    Used as pre-conditioning unit or stand-alone agglomerator
    One Rotor with Radial Pins
    Multiple Feeds
    Fluid Ports in Top Cover
    Relatively High Speed – Turbulent Mixing Action
  • 23. Pin Mixer Basics
    Turbulent action of the mixer provides thorough mixing of liquid (binder), raw feed, and recycle
    Reduces the amount of liquid required for agglomeration
    Allows high liquid levels without over-wetting
    Reduces chances of segregation due to density differences in feed materials
    Reduces the chances of selective agglomeration
    Up to 90% of binder liquid can be added in mixer with 10% reserved for finish processing (if necessary)
  • 24. Pin Mixer Basics
    Mechanical work compacts the agglomerate through work between the pins and shell and interaction with each other
    Improved crush strength, Less attrition
    With a retention time of seconds, the mixer delivers to a finishing pelletizer (if necessary) nuclei that are properly moistened, have adequate density, and are thoroughly mixed with binders, recycle, and multiple raw materials
    Can increase on-size product up to 95% (when coupled with Pan Pelletizer)
    Can increase capacity of pelletizing disc or drum (nuclei formation in mixer)
  • 25. Pin Mixer Basics
    Mixer may be required for agglomeration to occur in pelletizing disc or drum:
    Chemical reaction (Phosphoric Acid Spray)
    Reduce moisture level in sludges by mixing with dry recycle
    Intimately mix liquid with raw feed (compost)
  • 26. Pin Mixer
    High speed, Multiple feed screws
  • 27. Pin Mixer
    Internal view, during fabrication
  • 28. Paddle Mixer/Pug Mill
    Slower speed, double shaft, mixing paddles
  • 29. Mixer – Dryer Granulation
    Mixer offers moisture control of granulation process
    Simple, closed system
    Minimal waste. Off-spec product recycled in granulation loop
    Easy binder addition in mixing step
    Optimization includes evaluation of:
    Pin arrangement
    Pin tip speed
    Retention time (function of equipment sizing and mixer speed)
  • 30. Mixer – Dryer Granulation
    Oftentimes a tight moisture window in pin mixer granulation limits control
    Material handling can be challenging for wet, sticky feed
    Require finely divided feedstock – pre-grinding/de-lumping may be necessary
    Limitations on achievable granule crush strength (feedstock specific)
    Small diameter granule production
    Might be desired for “greens” grade product
  • 31. Pan Granulation
  • 32. Pan Granulation - Fundamentals
    Feed from Pin Mixer fed through articulating feed chute
    Small particles at bottom of bed and travel furthest
    Largest particles remain in kidney shaped area on top of bed
    Competition between gravitational and centrifugal forces resulting segregation by size in tumbling bed
  • 33. Pan Granulation - Fundamentals
    Trajectories defined by particle size
    • Spray locations
    • 34. Scraper locations
    • 35. Pan Inclination
    • 36. Rotational Speed
  • Pan Granulation
    Very good control over granule size
    Improved product quality – polishing on disc
    Flexible with binder addition
    “Open” system – odor, housekeeping, dust, etc.
    Labor intensive
  • 37. Pellet Mill Process - Overview
    Raw Manure Unloading
    Manure Drying
    Size Reduction
    Steam Conditioning
    Pellet Mill
    On-size Product
  • 38. Pellet Mill Process
    Physical Product Differences
    Crumble vs. Spherical Product
    Energy Usage
    Reduction in drying gas requirements
    Increase in electrical requirements (pellet mill)
    Reliability & Maintenance
    Careful with high silica feedstocks
  • 39. Bio-Fertilizer Plant - Emissions
    Gas Treatment
    Feedstock specific
    Wet scrubbing
    Form of Nitrogen in feedstock?
    Fuel Source? Biogas may involve SOx scrubbing
  • 40. Selection of Agglomeration Equipment
    Parameters of Particulate Feed
    Size and Shape
    Moisture Content
    Material Characteristics
    Material Sensitivities (heat, pressure, reactivity, etc.)
    Bulk Characteristics
    Binding Characteristics
    Parameters of Agglomerated Product
    Size and Shape
    Green Strength
    Final (cured) Strength
    Source: Pietsch, Wolfgang Agglomeration in Industry, Vol 2
  • 41. Parameters of Agglomeration Method
    Batch or Continuous Operation
    Capacity Requirements
    Wet or Dry Operation
    Space and Energy Requirements
    Investment and Operating Costs
    Site, Supply, Environment, Infrastructure
    Relative location to suppliers and customers (raw materials, additives/binders, energy)
    Site accessibility and transportation facilities
    Climatic conditions
    Availability of skilled and other labor
    Availability of support functions
    Regulations (EPA, OSHA, etc.)
    Source: Pietsch, Wolfgang Agglomeration in Industry, Vol 2
    Selection of Agglomeration Equipment
  • 42. Bio-Fertilizer Processing Considerations
    • Raw Feed Handling
    • 43. Feedstock specific
    • 44. Dewatering
    • 45. Mechanical (presses, centrifuges, etc.)
    • 46. Advanced separation with polymers
    • 47. On-farm or Centralized Plant?
    • 48. Bio-security concerns
    • 49. Feed Conditioning
    • 50. Seed pellets formed in paddle mixer with wet feed and dry recycle
    • 51. Pin or paddle mixer used to blend multiple feed streams
    • 52. Binder?
    • Agglomeration
    • 53. Seed pellets grown on disc pelletizer
    • 54. Seed pellets grown in rotary drum dryer or agglomerating drum
    • 55. Binder?
    • 56. Drying
    • 57. Rotary drum, fluid bed, etc.
    • 58. Pathogen Reduction (Time & Temperature)
    • 59. Product cooling & storage
    • 60. Rotary cooler, dryer cooling hood, fluid bed, etc.
    • 61. Gas Processing
    • 62. Thermal oxidation, exhaust gas scrubbing, PM capture
    Bio-Fertilizer Processing Considerations
  • 63. Overall Mass Balance: Advanced Manure Management
  • 64. Feeco Bio-Fertilizer Process Flow
  • 65. Feeco Bio-Fertilizer Process Flow
  • 66. Inorganic Nutrient Fortification
    Pipe Reactor
    Pug Mill
    Drying/Agglomeration Plant
    Fortified Granular Product
    Benefits of Fortification :
    • Chemical Heat Release Utilization
    • 71. Customized grade product
    • 72. Improved margins, larger markets
  • 73. FEECO Bio-Fertilizer Plant, Hog Manure
    Plant aerial view
  • 74. Thank You!