The development of the Chardon-dryer was started with the goal of finding an economically viable method to dry ‘wet biomass’. This biomass, with moisture contents of up to 92%, is highly perishable and typically found in agricultural waste streams. This material can currently only be converted into compost. If properly dried, the materials can be stored for long periods of time without degradation and are also easier to convert into biobased products.
During the development, it turned out that the new industrial dryer could also be used economically for drying several industrial waste streams, as well as the solid fraction of digestate, the solid waste stream created by a biomass digester. In a slightly more distant future, a food-grade version will be developed that could dry various kinds of waste from the F&B industry into dry fodder and even food ingrediënts. Eventually, this model may replace conventional food drying equipment as well, providing a solution with increased thermal efficiency that is capable of running at low to moderate temperatures, better suiting various fossil free heat sources such as geothermal-, solar- and heat pump based solutions.
Development of the Chardon-dryer was commenced in 2018, and has since then seen a gradual upscaling of both the engineering team and prototypes involved. This has led to a containerized (20ft) system, constructed and tested at sites of a paper mill (drying paper reject) and a biomass plant (drying various kinds of biomass) in the province of Gelderland. Starting fall ’21the initial full scale prototype will be translated into a commercial prototype suitable for on-site testing with potential customers. Eventually, systems with up to 10 times this drying capacity will be developed. The modular design eases the upscaling dramatically.