Located in the south of Brazil, one of the world’s leaders in the use and production of alternative energy sources, Biochamm Caldeiras e Equipamentos Indústriais Ltda is among the fastest growing manufacturers of biomass burning boilers in the sector. Reuben Ford finds out the facts behind one of the companies that fuel the future.
When Biochamm Caldeiras e Equipamentos Indústriais Ltda (Biochamm Boilers and Industrial Equipment Ltd) began in 1998, its founders had a history in biofuel production. The company was the result of the intention to provide equipment for energy production through burning renewable material, or bio-residues such as wood, sugar cane, bark, rice husk, sawdust and other natural waste. Originally manufacturing small-scale boilers, Biochamm grew successfully, developing larger, heavy-duty equipment.
BOILERS AND ACCESSORIES
Today, Biochamm manufactures a range of boilers, which burn natural residues creating steam to power generators and industrial equipment. It is the market leader in equipment for burning some residues and is among the four largest and most successful companies of its type in Latin America.
Among the types of boilers manufactured are two models called the aquatubular boiler that create electric energy – one specifically for the sugar industry. The company also produces the flametubular boiler, which creates energy for small thermoelectric stations, and has a model that runs entirely on gas and oil. The newest product is the Thermal Fluid Heater, developed with the latest technology using the combustion principle of the Biochamm burners for industrial heating purposes.
All of the equipment is fully automated, easily operated and maintained, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly. The high evaporation levels reduce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions, requiring low volumes of fuel to produce from three to 120 tons of steam an hour, depending on the model and use, increasing energy production and reducing costs for the company’s clients.
Along with boilers, the company produces horizontal bins, air preheaters, bin dischargers, deairators, multicyclone filters and mobile extractors.
Biochamm’s manufacturing facility, employing 300 people, is located in Agrolândia in the state of Santa Catarina. The 9,000-square-meter plant, ISO: 9000 certified, is located in an industrial park of 50,000 square meters.
The Biochamm boiler, which was one of the first products, was based on German technology produced by WVT, producer of Bioflamm boiler technology in Germany. The equipment is now produced entirely in Brazil, and is certified by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineering). Biochamm purchases raw materials in the form of steel, sheet steel and tubing from national companies.
Although the technology behind burning bio-residues comes from Europe, Biochamm is independent, and has developed techniques such as the thermal fluid heater based on experience in the industry. Being a major producer of sugar cane, Brazil generates large volumes of agricultural waste from the plantations, which is readily available and can be used to fuel Biochamm’s boilers and equipment.
The variety of fuels that can be burned to produce energy makes the equipment adaptable to a number of industries. As well as supplying throughout Brazil, Biochamm has clients in Europe and Central America as well as the other South American countries.
According to Executive Director Francisco Moura, the diversification of Biochamm’s markets is a clear part of future business strategy. “No one sector is more important than another and we are continually investing in expanding and developing our client base and products.”
Biochamm currently supplies many industries such as textile, wood, food, automobile, ceramics, fertilizer, paper and cellulose. Particularly focused on the petrochemical, Biochamm is being qualified and has plans to develop within this field. “Our experience qualifies us to expand this market, as well as diversify into others,” says Moura.
Projects for new products are not, however, undertaken by the company alone. Research and development is always in partnership with clients, including North American and European customers. One example is a current project that is being carried out with a Danish company to develop boilers that create steam power by burning urban waste.
Executives from Biochamm frequently travel to Europe, and in particular Denmark and Germany, to accompany developments in the market and analyze changes and new techniques available. “The founders of our company came from Germany and our business has secure linkswith the country,” explains Moura. “Sweden, Finland and the Scandinavian countries are also important players in the business, although Brazil and the United States are leaders in equipment for the alcohol and sugar industries.”
Despite the economic crisis and the decline in the agricultural industry due to lack of credit availability and subsequent investment, Biochamm projects continued growth for 2009. Although the figures will not reach the 25 percent increase in sales recorded in 2008, Moura is confident that diversification measures and a clear focus will enable the company’s future progress.
“We live to grow, and our business is on the way up,” says Moura. It is predicted that energy from alternative sources will increase by 40 percent in the future, which means a considerable increase in sales for Biochamm. Clients in the petrochemical and paper industries also predict future growth, which will have similar repercussions for the company. Biochamm also has plans to increase exports of its boilers in the coming years.
Through investments in its industrial plant, as well as constant technological improvement, Biochamm will no doubt continue to move full-steam ahead.