When we made our first dryer over 70 years ago, we were driven by exactly what brings you here: We needed a biomass dryer that just worked—we didn’t have time to fuss with anything less. We needed a dryer that was reliable, efficient and built with the understanding that capacity is king. So, we made one ourselves. As owner-operators of the same equipment you use, we started and continue making the toughest, longest lasting dryers out there. We’re honored to offer that same ingenuity and know-how to you in every wood chip dryer we build today. For you, and for us. That’s Thompson tough. And we’re sticking to it.

Meet our line of single pass rotary drying systems for biomass. We offer biomass dryers at varying capacities, with single systems having outfeed capacities as low as 1-ton per hour to over 300,000-tons per year (assuming 50% starting moisture content and 10% ending moisture content). Designed to operate for 8,400 hours per year, our biomass dryers are fabricated to the same rigid criteria that’s resulted in some Thompson systems running continuously for over 60 years.


A Better Way to Process Biomass

A Thompson Biomass XIV can dry temperature-sensitive, organic materials safely at a high capacity with thermal efficiency around 85%; it does so with minimal air pollution, little material degradation and low fire risk.  A Thompson Biomass XIV is the most cost effective and energy efficient biomass dryer available today. With Thompson’s proprietary internal flighting package, the dryer is able to dry both the small and large chips in your product feed uniformly, inside and out, to the desired dryness.

Feature: Thompson’s proprietary design of rotary dryer internals (flights/lifters)

The rotary material handling internals allows for the largest variance of product sizes
Even drying across particle sizes

You have a wider source of feedstock to choose from without having to invest in sizing equipment
Consistent product quality you and your customers can count on

Feature: No refractory

Quicker cool-down and start-up time for system
No stored energy in the refractory

Less downtime and less maintenance expense
Reduced risk of fires and explosions in shutdowns and upset conditions

Feature: Low oxygen drying environment

Fires need oxygen to burn, so low oxygen content means less risk of fires or high pressure events

Personnel and equipment are safer because fires and high pressure events are less likely.

Feature: Modulating exhaust gas recycle (also called flue gas recycle) – which reuses (recycles) hot gas from the system back into the front end of the drying process

Eliminates the need for make up air
Creates a consistent gas flow throughout the drying process
Allow drying process to use steam as the heat transfer medium
Use less fuel because there is no need to heat make up air
Reduces total gas volume entering and exiting the system (no make up air)
Either eliminates the need for, or reduces the size of secondary cleanup equipment (lower emissions)
Reduces the amount of oxygen entering the system (no make up air)
Increases consistency of final product quality
Allows for lower temperature drying which protects the quality of the end product

Lower fuel usage means lower operational costs
Lower emissions means lower capital investment
Lower emissions means happier neighbors
Consistent high quality products mean happy customers
Personnel and equipment are safer because fires and high pressure events are less likely

Feature: VFD controlled with no dampers

No dampers means less maintenance
Less pressure drop across system
Use only the horsepower needed

Lower operational costs
Lower maintenance costs
More reliable process controls

Feature: Inlet and outlet screws double as airlocks

Fewer pieces of equipment
Less complicated
Eliminates point for air (oxygen) to enter system
Lowers emissions

Lower operational costs
Fewer parts to break which means lower maintenance costs
Lower capital investment, no airlock here
Lower emissions means lower capital investment in secondary cleanup equipment
Lower emissions means happier neighbors
Personnel and equipment are safer because fires and high pressure events are less likely

Feature: Airlocks under each cyclone

Increased product separation from gas stream i.e. higher product retention
Eliminates point for air (oxygen) to enter system
Lower emissions

Higher revenues from having more product to sell
Lower emissions means lower capital investment in secondary cleanup equipment
Lower emissions means happier neighbors
Personnel and equipment are safer because fires and high pressure events are less likely

Feature: Negative pressure air system

Less dust (product) exiting the system at connection points, i.e. higher product retention
Drying gases stay in the dryer system or exit through the vent stack

Higher revenues from having more product to sell
Dangerous drying gases are not around plant personnel
Cleaner plant and surrounding area

Feature: Product doesn’t go through a fan

Less wear and tear on fan
Less cleaning

Lower maintenance costs
More uptime

Feature: Thompson’s patented steam purge and steam snuff (where steam is available)

Ability to know what gas is inside the system at startup
Ability to snuff out fires with hot steam instead of cold water

Reduced risks of fires or explosions on start up from build up of unexpected gases
Ability to fight fires with less damage to equipment

Feature: Thompson’s over pressure venting system

Reusable over pressure doors release to reduce pressure in over pressure events

Protects personnel by giving the system the chance to discharge at a lower pressure level
Project equipment by giving the system the chance to discharge at a lower pressure level

Feature: Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, or special alloy construction depending on feedstock

The proper materials of construction can handle the harmful natures of the feedstock such as corrosion or abrasion
Less wear and tear on the system

Lower maintenance cost
Longer life for system

Feature:  Automated Control System with Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Provides data from instruments at key points of the system for information and control purposes to run safer and more efficient
Handles startups and shutdowns automatically to remove human error
Alarms or controls upset conditions automatically
Automated fire suppression system (on some systems)

Protects personnel and equipment
Consistent product quality which means happy customers

Lowers cost of operation

Biomass Dryers At A Glance

Biomass is defined as organic matter intended to be used for fuel.  Thompson has created a line of dryers to process wet organic matter and prepare it for use as a fuel.  Below are some  specifications for our line of biomass drying systems.  

Performance Rates

Feedstock Capabilities:

  • Woody biomass: hardwoods, softwoods, bark, slash, whole tree, sawdust, hog fuel, paper mill sludge, construction & demolition debris (C&D)
  • Non-woody biomass:
    • Grasses: elephant, switch, brome, miscanthus
    • Ag residuals: wheat straw, sugar beet pulp, potato waste, corn stover, bagasse, coffee bean
    • Municipal solid waste (MSW)
    • Sanitary wastes: livestock, poultry


General Equipment Specifications

**The below specs are based on a 14ft drying system

Biomass Drying Systems made from carbon steel

Combustion & Burner Assembly
Wet solid fuel burner (Waste heat, dry solid fuel, fossil fuels, and other heat sources available)
Burner & combustion air fan tied into control system & automated sequences
Combustion system meets or exceeds NFPA 86 guidelines

Single pass dryer drum
3/8-in thick shell
Internal flight/lifter support arms
Tires/tracks: 3-in thick x 10-in wide carbon steel
Trunnion wheels: 42-in diameter, 10.25-in wide with guards
Trunnion shaft: 8-in diameter thru wheel, steps down to 4-15/16-in
Self-adjusting pillow block bearings: 4-15/16-in
Drum drive assembly with VFD and guards

Separation and clean-up
Outlet hopper
Cyclones: 10-ga high efficiency
Clean-out doors in cyclone hoppers and outlet hopper
Compressed air inlets in cyclone hoppers
Combined outlet hopper and cyclone particle separation from gas stream 99%+

Designed for use in dusty environments
AMCA standard 205 & 211 compliant and 210 & 300 tested
Fan application category BV-3 and balance quality grade G6.3
Shafts sized for 1.43x max rated speed-ANSI/AMCA 204-96
Heavy duty, self-aligning, pillow block type bearings with AFBMA l-50 > 200,000 hours
Clean-out door
Drive guard
VFD controlled where applicable

Double walled hot gas ducting
Sized for appropriate gas flow velocities
Bolt together sections for ease of assembly
Manways and cleanouts included for ease of access where applicable

Screw conveyors
Conveyors: auger-style, AGMA class 3
Housing & auger with flanged covers
Shaft mount speed reducer
VFD controlled where applicable

Project management
Installation oversight
Operator training
System start-up
Work with your EPC to provide turn-key solution

Emissions control
Can supply or size a thermal oxidizer
Can provide options to meet emissions standards


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