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your partners for biomass energy projects

25 years of biomass design experience

table of contents
your partners for biomass energy projects

strategic program management

feasibility studies and preliminary planning

fuel assessment and aggregation

environmental review and permitting

engineering and design services


construction and operations assistance


your partners for biomass energy projects

The team of Barr Engineering Co. and Cook
Engineering can help take your biomass projects
from conception to commissioning. Our experience
with wood-waste-combustion technology dates back
to the early 1980s and first-generation facilities. Our
current projects include steam-turbine and boiler
installations that use wood waste as the fuel source.
For over two decades weve worked in facilities of
every shape and size. We provide prescreening and
feasibility studies, detailed design, permitting, and
civil, structural, process, mechanical, and electrical
engineering; air, water, and solid-waste permitting;
and project-management services that include
construction management and owners engineering.
Whether you need assistance in many areas or just
one, the Barr/Cook team will help you successfully
meet the business, financial, and social goals for
your project.

Barr and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects

About Barr Engineering Company

Barrs nearly 500 engineers, scientists, and technical
support specialists provide engineering and
environmental services to clients across the continent
and around the world. Incorporated as an employeeowned consulting firm in 1966, Barr has offices in
Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and
Calgary, Alberta.

About Cook Engineering

Founded in 1962 and located in Thunder Bay, Cooks
staff of 100 professionals provides engineering,
architectural, environmental, and management services
to clients throughout the region. Cook serves its
heavy-industry clients in the Midwestern U.S. through
Laurentian Engineering in Duluth, Minnesota.

strategic program management

Our team helps clients identify viable Our team helps
clients identify viable new business models and projects
that add strategic and commercial value.

Our team helps clients identify viable new

business models and projects that add
strategic and commercial value.
Pre-feasibility analyses provide a big-picture overview of
potential projects to determine whether a more detailed
feasibility study is a worthwhile investment. We can assist
you with:

development of a business case and sales strategies

capital-cost estimates
site layouts
permitting and siting evaluations, including
fatal-flaw analyses
development of options and alternatives
pro-forma financial analyses
operations-and-maintenance cost estimates

support for financing

Not surprisingly, financing is a crucial element in developing and completing a successful project. Beyond funding
for the initial studies, debt-and-equity funding must be
obtained to complete the project.
Our team can assist you in obtaining funding and work
with your investment advisor to produce documentation
and analysis in support of financing activities. We provide
investment memoranda that enable potential investors to
assess the risks associated with projects.

Providing appropriate and comprehensible information to

stakeholders and public audiences can help build support for
proposed biomass-energy projects

public-relations assistance
We can also assist you in building public support for
and awareness of your projects. We can prepare news
releases, make public presentations, and facilitate forums
for information exchange. We use language the general
public can understand to accurately describe projects
while acknowledging the interests of tribal/First Nation
and advocacy groups, regional and local economic
impacts, and local impacts related to noise, zoning, and
fugitive emissions.

project-management services
Our project-management services range from permitting
assistance to engineering to subcontractor scheduling,
construction management, and owners engineering. We
provide project-management and oversight services on
projects lasting from a few weeks to several years.

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

financial feasibility evaluation for a confidential

clients hydroelectric projects
As part of a U.S. Trade Development Association grant
program that works to expand U.S. trade markets
in developing countries by funding business and
infrastructure projects, Browers Consulting (now part of
Barr) evaluated the economic feasibility of two proposed
hydroelectric projects in Rwanda. The project entailed
reviewing conceptual designs for the proposed plants,
developing estimates for capital and operating costs, and
developing business pro-forma cases.

preliminary and financial analyses for a district

heating system
The city of International Falls, Koochiching County, and
the International Falls school district funded a two-phase
study to investigate the feasibility of constructing and
operating a new district heating system. The system
would burn wood chips and/or municipal-refuse fuel.
Cogeneration was also evaluated.
Barrs work included preliminary determination of the
system heat loads, preliminary selection of combustion
technologies, siting of the heating plant, and preliminary
design of the heating plant, materials-handling systems,
heat-distribution systems, and building conversions for
development of a constructed-cost estimate. We also
conducted a financial analysis to evaluate economic
feasibility under varying scenarios.

A steam plant at which Cook Engineering worked on a biomassenergy project

our team for strategic program management

Bruce Browers, PE
Senior Consultant, Senior Mechanical Engineer
Bruce, who has 35 years of experience,
specializes in working with the electric-power generation and
process-steam industries. For more than two decades, he
has worked on projects involving design, construction, and
operation of combined heat-and-power plants fueled by
biomass. For the past five years, he has specialized in
assessing the feasibility of prospective U.S. power-industry
investment in developing nations. Before that, he served in
managerial roles at Minnesota Power for over 25 years.

John Lee, PE
Vice President, Senior Civil Engineer
John has been providing engineering services
to power utilities, local and federal government,
and private-industry clients since 1979. His work includes environmental permitting and review, power-plant siting, landfill
design and permitting, civil and geotechnical engineering,
and remedial investigations and design. On many projects,
John serves as the project principal and project manager,
helping ensure clients satisfaction with our work. He recently
served as project principal for a large energy-technology
integration project in North Dakota.

Bill McLean, PE
Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer
Bill began his career as a boiler design engineer
before gaining experience in project management on large
coal-fired utility-station projects in China and India. With over
30 years of experience in the engineering-services sector, Bill
has applied his steam-generation-equipment and process
knowledge to a variety of steam-plant projects, including
scrubber installations, a 20 MW turbine installation, and highpressure piping and pressure-vessel modifications. Recently,
Bill managed engineering design services for the upgrade of
an existing biomass-fueled boiler and a 48 MW condensing
turbine installation in British Columbia.

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects

feasibility studies and preliminary planning

With a pre-feasibility study completed, we can help
you develop a more detailed scope of work and move
into the feasibility study phase. This yields a decision
grade document for obtaining a corporate funding
commitment. We recently conducted such studies for a
combined heat-and-power project in North Dakota and a
peat-fired power plant in Uganda.

feasibility study for a peat-fired

electric-generation facility
In 2007, an investment and development company
proposed constructing the first privately owned powergeneration facility in Uganda. Under a U.S. Trade
Development Association grant, the client hired Browers
Consulting (now part of Barr) to evaluate the economic
feasibility of constructing and operating a plant fueled by
the countrys vast peat resources.
Expanding on an earlier peat-resource survey, Browers
Consulting performed fuel-assessment studies to confirm
that adequate resources existed to fuel the 20 MW plant
and then developed preliminary plant design concepts.
The fuel assessment revealed that the regions peat
resources would support the plant, and a project site was
acquired. Browers Consulting also developed a pricing
index to compare the cost of electricity generated by the
peat-fired plant to that from government-owned plants.

Barr prepared preliminary cost estimates and provided detailed

design services for this 35 MW biomass-energy project in
northern Minnesota

financial feasibility study for pipeline expansion

Browers Consulting was selected to assist the U.S. Trade
Development Association in evaluating the economic
feasibility of extending a refined-oil-products pipeline
from Kenya to markets in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Historically, oil products had been trucked into those
countries over poor roads.
We conducted a desktop market study to compare the
economic factors associated with pipeline transport to
those for truck transport. We evaluated the demand for
refined products and estimated the pipeline size and
route, as well as capital and operating costs associated
with accommodating this demand. A business pro forma
was then developed based on these calculations.
Study results showed that extending the pipeline would
provide a significant economic benefit for the three

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

feasibility study for biomass boiler improvements

The Green Energy Project was started at the Zellstoff
Celgar pulp mill to increase electricity production
potential by installing a new steam turbine, upgrading a
power boiler, and implementing various pinch projects.
Cook Engineering was selected to complete a feasibility
study in 2007 and detailed engineering in 2008. At the
time, a significant quantity of steam was being vented to
the atmosphere when steam generation from the blackliquor-recovery boiler exceeded process demand.
Cook identified an additional 120,000 pph of steam that
could be recovered through process-related capital
projects. We also determined that a further increase in
steam generation was possible with an upgrade of the
power boiler to achieve its full MCR rating of 120,000 pph
on biomass consisting of hogged-wood residuals.

The upgrade consisted of replacing most of the boiler

waterwalls with membrane construction, a new Detroit
Stoker VCG specifically designed for full biomass capacity,
and a new dry-ash-handling system. The three sources
yielded 309,000 pph and 87,000 pph of 900 and 600 psi
steam, respectively, that could be diverted to a new 48
MW steam turbine.

mulch to megawatts provides a basis for preliminary planning and beyond

What does a viable biomass power project look like? The Barr/Cook team has developed general specifications for
a biomass power project and compiled them in a document titled Mulch to Megawatts. The reference plant is a
25 MW project that represents the sweet spot for a practical rate of return and realistic fuel-supply logistics.

For a complimentary copy of Mulch

to Megawatts, contact Bruce Browers
( or Bill McLean
A graph from Mulch to Megawatts
demonstrates why 25 MW is an optimal size
for biomass-energy projects with respect
to capital and fuel-supply costs. Smaller
projects will be more expensive to build
(per KW) and larger projects will require a
larger fuel-aggregation radius, which can
result in unsustainable transportation costs.

CosstpermWh ($)

Mulch to Megawatts offers an overview of economic factors, fuel considerations, and environmental impacts as
well as a base-plant equipment list, general arrangement, heat balance, and electrical diagram. This information
can be useful in preliminary project discussions
and can serve as the basis for more
detailed planning based on your project
specifications or special circumstances.
per KW


Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects

25 MW



fuel assessment and aggregation

A biomass energy project is only as viable as its fuel
supply. The Barr/Cook team helps clients resolve biomass
supply challenges associated with identifying the local
market, assessing the quantity and quality of fuel sources,
and evaluating the risk of supply and price fluctuation.

Our team provides comprehensive fuel

assessments to support bankable feasibility
studies and project financing.
Landowners, farmer organizations, processors, loggers,
and solid-waste generators make up the biomassprovider network in the Midwest. As growing interest in
energy from biomass creates demand, biomass markets
can be volatile and affected by factors unrelated to actual
production and preparation, such as transportationfuel prices, housing-industry demand for materials, and
animal-feed markets.
We understand that your biomass project needs a
fuel strategy that addresses factors ranging from the
vulnerability of current material supply and price to longterm supply and feasibility risks. Our team works with
clients on projects that co-fire biomass and process an
expanding variety of biomass into biofuel by shredding,
drying, and cubing.
We have helped clients incorporate biomass firing into
an existing combustion system and designed fuelhandling-systems as well as new auxiliary systems for fuel
screening, size reduction, conditioning (drying), storage,
conveying, and blending. We understand that co-firing
can alter boiler-system operating parameters and affect
aspects such as heat rate, water demand, ash or slag
quality, and emissions characteristics.

Ag residues such as wheat straw can serve as biomass fuel

process design and cost estimating for a biomass

to liquid-biofuel production plant
Flambeau River Biofuels was formed in 2007 in response
to the U.S. Department of Energys request for demonstration biofuel production projects. The project quickly
escalated to a biomass production project with a daily
input requirement of 1,000 bone-dry tons. It uses ThermoChem Recovery International (TRI) gasification technology
for biomass conversion to syn gas and Fischer-Tropsch
gas-to-liquid catalytic technology. When constructed, the
plant will produce zero-sulphur diesel and wax products.
Cook Engineering worked with Flambeau River Biofuels to
complete process design and project estimating for the
biomass system from fuel-yard layout through biomass
processing; all conveying; an enclosed linear reclaimstorage system; biomass drying; dry storage; and delivery
to the TRI system.

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

biomass fuel assessment and test burn for an

existing generating facility
The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic
Growth (DELEG) awarded Wyandotte Municipal Services
(WMS) a grant to demonstrate the feasibility of co-firing
biomass fuel in its existing generating facilities. Barr
assisted WMS in investigating the logistics of acquiring
and handling various woody biomass fuels and conducting a test burn of the proposed fuel to identify technical
challenges and develop recommendations for future use.
Our work included researching biomass fuel suppliers
and determining what fuels would be available within a
feasible transportation range to enable WMS to secure
a consistent supply of high-quality, sustainably sourced
biofuel for up to 7MW of electricity production by 2025.
We also identified the infrastructure upgrade requirements and costs for the WMS boiler proposed for
biomass combustion, including the equipment and
components necessary to store, handle, and feed
biomass fuel into the boiler.
In addition, we completed a test burn and evaluated
boiler performance to verify that the selected biomass
fuel sources and handling equipment would consistently
generate electricity with low emissions.

our team for fuel assessment and aggregation

Dave Knutson, P. Eng.
Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer
Dave, who has 33 years of experience, began his
career in the pulp and paper industry. He specialized in steam-plant services, focusing on increased biomass
firing to reduce production costs. His recent work includes a
design-build biomass power-boiler retrofit to eliminate fossilfuel firing, piping design for a 25 MW backpressure-turbine
installation, and a 50MW condensing-turbine feasibility study.

Jacob Thompson
Senior Environmental Specialist
Jacob has more than nine years of experience
on projects for clients in the fuels and forestproducts industries, including work on papermill-production
improvements and regulatory compliance. His recent work
includes assessing biomass fuel options, determining
biomass-production grant-program
applicability, and evaluating fuel costs and fuel-storage
requirements for biomass-fired power projects.

Barry C. Brooks
Materials Handling Specialist
Barry has over 20 years of materials-handling
experience, including work on projects involving
biomass processing, sizing, pelletizing, and conveying. He
has designed and installed biomass-processing and delivery
systems for pulp and paper and utility clients. Barry recently
completed design and installation of a biomass-processing
and delivery system to eliminate fossil-fuel burning in an
existing boiler.

Low-value wood species can be chipped and used as part of a

diversified biomass supply

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects

environmental review and permitting

Environmental review for biomass projects can pose
challenges such as the need to adhere to a tight schedule
while allowing sufficient time for permitting approvals.
The process can also entail conducting negotiations with
multiple agencies on multimedia environmental impacts,
completing power-plant site and route permitting, and
handling public relations.

We assist clients with all aspects of

environmental review and permitting,
including completing applications for
certificates of need, facility siting, and
route permitting.
In addition, we help both public and private clients
develop citizen-participation and regulatory strategies
that address difficult issues before they become major
controversies. Well assist you with specific environmental
issues associated with:

EAWs, EISs, and site permit preparation

wetlands permitting and loss mitigation

air emissions permitting

water supply and discharge

ash management

noise assessment and mitigation

environmental site assessments and reviews

As part of a proposed biomass-fueled power plant
project for Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States
Power Company), was hired to conduct a fast-track
environmental review of two sites.
We reviewed environmental and land-use regulations
affecting the proposed project, including those related to
utilities, water supply, wastewater disposal, air permitting,
environmental review, and ash disposal. We performed
preliminary modeling of emissions to determine if
compliance with air quality standards would be a concern.
Emissions issues included New Source Performance
standards and Prevention of Significant Deterioration
requirements, as well as acid-rain emissions limitations.
We also conducted detailed evaluations of water-supply
and wastewater impacts. For one site, there would be
aquifer impacts; for the other, there would be impacts on
the Mississippi River from withdrawal and discharge of
cooling water.
As a screening tool for overall impacts, an Environmental
Assessment Worksheet was completed for both sites. The
project was completed within the clients tight timeframe.

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

our team for environmental review and permitting

Rich Hardegger, PE
Vice President, Sr. Environmental Engineer
Rich is a chemical engineer with over 18 years
of experience managing and implementing
environmental projects for utility, mining, and manufacturing
facilities, with an emphasis on complex air-quality permitting
and compliance. He has helped lead Barrs biomass-fueled
projects, including evaluation of a biomass-fired combined
heat-and-power opportunity for a paper-recycling facility,
permitting and compliance for RDF-fired power plants, and
comprehensive environmental assistance for biomass-fired
food-waste drying facilities.
Teresa Kinder
Sr. Air Quality Consultant
Teresa has more than 25 years of experience on
projects involving air quality and process engineering. She conducts technical and economic feasibility studies for pollution-control equipment; prepares air
emissions inventories, mass balances, and monitoring plans;
develops permitting and regulatory-compliance strategies;
prepares air permit applications; and assists with regulatory
negotiations for companies requiring permitting assistance
for biomass production facilities and for facilities converting
from traditional fuels to biomass fuels.
Rick Campbell
Air Quality Consultant
Rick joined Barr after serving with the Missouri
Public Service Commission and Department of
Natural Resources Air Pollution Control Program. His 14
years of regulatory experience includes developing emission inventories and air-pollution-control regulations for
electric utilities, natural gas pipelines, and cement kilns.
Ricks work with electric utility and cement kiln regulations
and emission calculations included evaluating alternative
fuel sources, such as biomass, for emission reductions. He
has also worked extensively with the power industry on
environmental cost reviews for electric rate cases, including
the feasibility of alternative fuel usage and the impacts on
rate payers.

environmental support for energy conversion e

Barr was retained by Evergreen Energy to provide
technical support for the environmental aspects of an
energy-conversion-technology evaluation for a paperrecycling facility in St. Paul, Minn., after its steam supply
was interrupted. A state-funded study was commissioned
to identify energy alternatives and select an option that
would sustain the facilitys operation and 500 jobs.
The study scope was developed with public participation
to evaluate renewable-energy options for an anticipated
on-site boiler project. Barr assisted with identification and
evaluation of environmental and health-risk impacts for
scenarios using wood residues, agricultural by-products,
grasses, and refuse-derived fuel. These were compared
with impacts from the coal-, oil- and natural-gas-fired
combustion used in the past. Impacts were also compared
to state, federal and European air quality standards.
Barr provided technical support and presented findings
at public meetings as the study progressed. Ultimately,
off-site anaerobic digestion and an equivalent naturalgas exchange at the facility were selected as the most
environmentally friendly option.

biomass-fired-drying compliance assistance

Endres Processing collects and recycles expired or
off-specification food products to produce a nutritious
animal-feed ingredient. Its food-drying process is heated
by a biomass burner that fires sawdust supplemented with
shredded packaging material.
Barr has helped Endres obtain a capped air-emissions
permit that allows additional biomass fuels to be tested
and used in the burner. The permit also reflects emission
limits made possible by the plants implementation of
an emissions-reduction and energy-efficiency project.
We have also conducted compliance testing and helped
Endres control hydrochloric acid emissions by providing
emissions testing to calibrate a sorbent-injection system.
In addition, we have worked with facility staff to address
combustion- and process-related corrosion on dryer and
burner equipment. We have provided recommendations
for process temperature management, sacrificial and protective linings, and a metal-thickness monitoring program.

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects

engineering and design services

fuel storage and handling
Biomass facilities rely on fuel-handling systems to unload,
process, convey, and store materialssometimes under
extreme weather conditions. With offices in Canada and
the upper Midwest, the Barr/Cook team understands
the impact of extreme cold, wind, snow, and ice on the
handling and storage of biomass materials. Well work
with you to analyze your existing system or design a new
one from the ground up.
Stringiness, friction, and differing densities make biomass
materials some of the most challenging to handle. Our
team takes these factors into consideration and develops
innovative design approaches that incorporate multiple
drag-chain or screw conveyors, hoppers, and high-angleof-repose chutes. We design systems that balance shortterm and long-term storage needs and space constraints.

site layout and facility design

We have successfully designed biomass facilities that
were constructed on sites with limited space. Our team
can work with you to lay out a new plant or determine
how equipment can be retrofitted into an existing one.
Using flow diagrams and process requirements, we select
equipment for preliminary and final layouts, then work
with you to update and refine the layout as needed.

In the case of combined heat-and-power (CHP) facilities,

process control must necessarily be more complex to
meet the simultaneous needs of steam and electric users.
Fuel-quality variability is another consideration when
providing adequate process control.

minimizing impacts
Plants with neighbors must address concerns about
noise, transportation-traffic volume, traffic routes, and
fugitive emissions in their layout and design. We can
assist in identifying possible causes for concern at a new
or existing facility, enabling you to address such issues
In addition, environmental regulations require controls for
particulate and NOx air emissions. Our team is familiar
with combustion technologies to reduce emissions, as
well as with emission-control technologies, and well help
integrate the design of these systems into your overall
facility design.

process controls e
Reliable instrumentation and control systems are a
critical part of every biomass project. We can assist with
component selection and application, control-system
design, coordination with vendor systems, programmable
logic controllers (PLCs), and software development. Our
project designs have included supervisory control and
data acquisition (SCADA) systems for system monitoring,
control, historic trending, alarming, and remote access
and monitoring.


A biomass handling system designed by Cook Engineering

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

Whether youre making improvements to a coal-fired

plant or considering alternative energy production,
we can provide engineering and design support for:

cogeneration systems
biomass utilization and processing
energy reduction
process optimization
wind-turbine foundations
coal-conveying systems
dust-collection systems
power boilers and recovery furnaces

The Barr/Cook team provides design and engineering

services for the individual components and systems that
comprise biomass facilities, including:

heat and material balances

We use industry-standard modeling software to develop
and optimize plant thermal conditions. Modeling
results provide the optimal balance between steam and
electrical generation, maximizing thermal efficiencies
to provide the smallest carbon footprint based on the
available fuel.

boiler and turbine islands

Our engineers work with boiler manufacturers to evaluate
whether stokers, bubbling-bed, or circulating-fluid-bed
systems provide the best combustion technology while
factoring in fuel quality, fuel preparation, reliability,
and emissions. Turbine islands are designed with the
demands of steam and electric users in mind. Outputs
from industry-standard modeling software are used in
developing designs that meet both condensing and
steam-host requirements.

power piping
We have designed ASME B31.1 power piping, including
steam, condensate, and feed-water piping systems. We
are familiar with ASME code requirements as well as with
the requirements for protecting the piping, associated
equipment, and support system.

Our team provides engineering services for systems
associated with stormwater, well water, sanitary sewers,
service water, and potable water. We also provide
engineering for natural-gas and fuel-oil piping, and
coordination for connecting to existing supply pipelines.

electrical interconnection e
Biomass projects may require substation design, utility
interconnection, protective relaying, system coordination,
and power distribution. We can assist in developing and
responding to interconnection agreements with utilities
and independent-system operators, generation step-up
substations with interconnection voltages up to 138kV,
and electric-generation systems ranging from small ones
to large systems in excess of 50MW.

ash handling and disposal

Ash-handling and disposal systems collect bottom ash
and fly ash and transfer these to load-out facilities via
drag-chain conveyors, screw conveyors, pneumatic
conveyors, ash-conditioning systems, bins, and silos. Our
team is familiar with ash-handling and disposal systems
and can integrate them into your overall plant design.

cooling towers
Increasing regulation of power-plant water usage compounds the challenges of biomass-facility design. Our
engineers will model your performance and regulatory
requirements and then develop the best cooling-tower
design for your facility: wet, dry, or a hybrid.

A biomass-storage yard with wood waste and grass

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects


our team for engineering and design

Dennis Widdifield
Materials Handling Specialist
Dennis has 30 years of materials-handling experience as well as experience with design, construction, installation, and commissioning of biomass conveyor and processing systems. Recently, he managed engineering design
services for the biomass-handling and processing portion
of a 1,000 BDTPD biofuel-production facility along with a
demonstration industrial biomass pellet plant (RDF technology) in Wisconsin.
Harry Larson, PE
Vice President, Sr. Mechanical Engineer
Harry has more than 30 years of experience in
mechanical-system design and extensive experience with
detailed system design, assessments, and feasibility studies.
He also has design experience with power-plant systems,
process piping, district heating, and alternative-fuels and -energy systems. Harry recently served as project manager for a
large energy-technology integration project in North Dakota.
William Mullinix, PE
Sr. Mechanical Engineer
William has over a decade of experience designing power plant and industrial systems, including analysis,
calculations, research, selection, and layout. He has designed
main-steam, hot-reheat, cold-reheat, and low-pressure steam
systems for combined-cycle generation and cogeneration
projects; designed fuel-gas systems; procured dual-fuelburner equipment; and provided major mechanical installation specifications for a generating-unit gas conversion.
Bill McLean, PE
Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer
Bill, who began his career as a boiler design
engineer, has over 30 years of experience. He has applied
his steam-generation-equipment and process knowledge to
projects including scrubber installations, a 20 MW turbine
installation, and high-pressure piping and pressure-vessel
modifications. Recently, Bill managed engineering design
services for upgrade of an existing biomass-fueled boiler and
installation of a 48 MW condensing turbine.


preliminary design and environmental assistance

for wood-burning cogeneration facility
Barr was selected by NRG Thermal Corporation for its
team to complete the preliminary design for a woodburning cogeneration project adjacent to the Andersen
Windows plant in Bayport, Minnesota. Using waste wood
and sawdust as a primary fuel source, the project will
supply steam and electricity to the plant and steam to a
nearby correctional facility.
During the preliminary engineering phase, we assisted
NRG in evaluating and optimizing the basic design for
electricity and steam production. In addition, we:

identified major equipment and components with

preliminary sizing
developed process-flow diagrams for all major
systems and subsystems
drafted a preliminary site plan and plant generalarrangement drawings
prepared design specs for a wide range of
engineering components

Barr also provided environmental services that included

developing an air emissions inventory, conducting a
regulatory review and applicability analysis, and conducting modeling to determine stack and emission-controlequipment design parameters.
We then helped NRG develop a preliminary permitting
strategy to establish a workable permitting timeline,
determined a conventional emission-control strategy,
modeled compliance with the ambient-air-quality
standards, and outlined a permitting schedule and costs.

2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

preliminary design of a wood-handling system for

a biomass-power facility

detailed design services for upgrade of an

existing biomass-fired power boiler

The Laurentian Energy Authority was created by the

public utilities in Hibbing and Virginia, Minnesota, to
provide 35 MW of biomass power for Xcel Energy as
part of that utilitys mandated requirement for renewable

Cook Engineering teamed with a contractor and a boiler

manufacturer to provide conceptual and detailed design
engineering for upgrades to an existing 400,000-poundper-hour power boiler. The client wanted to minimize
or eliminate fossil-fuel firing by automating grate-ash
removal and providing a level of combustion-control
functionally equal to that achieved by firing responsive
fossil fuels. The Cook team provided design engineering
services for biofuel feed- and ash-handling systems, grate
foundations, combustion-air ducting-system supports,
and electrical-controls wiring.

Current fuel requirements call for renewable energy to be

produced with a minimum of 50% closed-loop biomass;
the Authority began planting hybrid poplars in 2004.
The project includes a new biomass-fired boiler at each
utility with a central wood yard that meets fuel-storage
and processing needs. Barr completed preliminary design
of the wood-handling system and prepared budgetary
cost estimates. Detailed mechanical, electrical, structural,
and civil design of the wood-handling system was completed in late 2006.

The woody-biofuel reclaim and processing facility

included a reclaimer, an innovative screen, and a hog to
reduce the size of larger fuel material. Existing conveyors
were reused, the lower panels and waterwall headers of
the boiler were replaced by a grate, and an independent
foundation was designed to support the grate and permit
installation while the boiler was in operation to reduce
downtime. Boiler modifications also included a revised
interlacing overfire-air system and upgraded controls. A
new flue-gas ash-handling system removes and conditions
fly ash prior to disposal.
The project met its goal of minimizing fossil-fuel consumption by improving the biomass-combustion control
to such an extent that the high-pressure process-steamheader demand swings were matched by firing biomass
fuel alone. The reduced fuel costs paid for the system
modifications in approximately one year.

Barr completed the preliminary design, budgetary

cost estimates, and detailed design for the woodhandling system at a biomass-processing facility in
Hibbing, Minnesota, above and at right

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects


facility design for an RDF transfer station

Barr designed NRG Energys Mankato (Minnesota)
transfer station to handle two kinds of wastemunicipal
solid waste and refuse-derived fuel (RDF). One side of the
transfer station has storage space and load-out facilities
for municipal solid waste that is hauled to a compost
facility, where it is processed and used primarily for soil
augmentation and land reclamation. The waste rejected
during compost processing is burned at the utilitys
Wilmarth generating plant as RDF.
The other side of the transfer station, used for RDF
storage, connects to the Wilmarth generating plants
fuel-receiving building. RDF is shipped to the transfer
station from resource-recovery facilities and burned as
combustor fuel. By providing temporary storage, the
transfer station smooths out differences between RDF
production rates and the fuel-demand rate at Wilmarth,
maximizing utilization of RDF.
The dual-purpose facility is a 28,000-square-foot
structure, measuring 140 feet by 200 feet and standing
35 feet tall, with no interior columns. The station also has
800 square feet of office space. Barrs facility-design tasks
encompassed all aspects of the project, from conceptual
layout to detailed design and preparation of construction
drawings and specifications. Our design work covered
site development and structural, electrical, mechanical,
and architectural features.

design services for backpressure turbine

In the early 1990s, Cook Engineering was part of a consulting team that provided design services for the installation of a 20 MW backpressure steam-turbine generator.
We provided engineering project management,
structural, electrical, and mechanical design services.
Subsequently, alternatives to increase power generation
at the facility were considered, ranging from the addition
of a backpressure turbine exhausting to the low-pressure
process-steam system to the addition of an extraction and
condensing unit to maximize on-site power generation.
Cook led the preparation of a feasibility study assessing a
40 MW extraction and condensing turbine as part of these
investigations. We then provided detailed mechanical and
piping design services associated with the installation of
an 875 psig to 60 psig backpressure turbine generating
up to 25MW. The unit went into service in late 2008.

design of modifications for a biomass

materials-handling system at a power plant
Minnesota Powers Hibbard Station is a two-boiler
facility generating electricity and steam for Newpage
Papers Duluth Division. The existing biomass receiving,
processing, and boiler delivery system required constant
manual assistance, resulting in fuel delivery disruptions.
Cook Engineering was commissioned to improve system
operations and reduce downtime. We modified the
truck dumper and reclaim hoppers to prevent biomass
plugging, and the transfer points on the conveyors to
reduce dusting.
Trials were completed on different metering-screw and
bin configurations for the boiler infeed. The results were a
series of biomass storage bins with metering screws that
directly deliver the prepared biomass to the boilers. The
system has now been in use for many years with a proven
reliability and maintenance record.

Biomass handling equipment at one of Cook Engineerings

biomass-energy project sites (steam plant in background)


2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

construction and operations assistance

construction services
Which construction approach will work best for your
biomass facility? It might be an engineer-procureconstruct (EPC) approach, in which the EPC contractor
provides a firm price and schedule along with liquidated
damages related to cost, schedule and, in some cases,
plant performance. A variation of this is the design-build
approach, with the engineer teaming with a contractor
to provide a complete engineering and construction
Another alternative is an engineer-procure-construction
management approach, in which the owner bears more
responsibility and assumes more risk.
Yet another option is a time-and-materials contract, often
used when the timeframe is compressed, with the owner
acting as general contractor and taking full responsibility
for cost and schedule.
Our team can help you identify an approach that best
balances cost, schedule, and risk factors for your facility.

startup, commissioning, and operations services

Startup activities typically begin at mechanical
completion and involve functional testing of valves,
conveyors, piping systems, fan, pumps, blowers, and
other components to verify that they operate individually
and as part of the complete system.
Performance testing for capacity, reliability, and environmental emissions may also need to be conducted. Additional fine-tuning of controls and systems continues until
commercial operation can begin.
Our team can help you plan, schedule, and conduct
startup activities and performance testing, as well as
assist with the fine-tuning your facility needs to get it up
and running successfully.

our team for construction and operations assistance

Jamie LePage, PE
Sr. Mechanical Engineer
Jamie specializes in managing complex construction and maintenance projects for mechanical
systems. He has recently worked on a 4.5 MM Lbm/day
black-liquor-solids kraft-chemical recovery boiler using
wood-waste-pulp chemical residue for a fuel source;
multiple power-plant boilers that use biomass for cogeneration; biomass-handling fuel systems; a detailed
thermal analysis and engineering assessment of a paper-mill
power and biomass-fuel operation; and upgrades, overhauls
and inspections of boilers, incinerators, and process heaters that use fuels ranging from wood waste and sawdust to
paper packaging and animal refuse.
Roy Summers, P. Eng.
Boiler Design and Commissioning Engineer
Roy has over seven years of field experience,
including conducting nondestructive testing and
coordinating boiler-condition assessments and
inspections for clients in the pulp and paper industry. He also
has significant experience with boiler commissioning, QA/
QC, construction supervision, and coordination. Recently,
Roy was responsible for design services associated with the
upgrade of a biomass-fueled boiler in British Columbia.

Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering: your partners for biomass energy projects


startup engineering services for an industrial and

home-heating pellet plant
Formed in 2008, Atikokan Renewable Fuels has purchased
the former Fibratech MDF-board manufacturing plant in
Atikokan, Ontario. The plant retained its wood-resource
allotment of aspen and birch logs and is being modified
and updated to reach 32 tons an hour of RDF-pellet
production by 2012.
Members of the Cook team are providing all required
design, construction, and startup engineering services for
the plant, including procuring environmental permits.

engineering and startup services for a prototype

industrial biomass-pellet plant
In 2007 Johnson Timber Corporation obtained the
intellectual rights to a new, larger industrial densified
biomass pellet that can easily replace or supplement
coal in an industrial boiler. A new company, Renewable
Densified Fuels (RDF) was formed to market and
manufacture the proprietary-pellet-process equipment.
The first commercial-sized demonstration plant was built
in Park Falls, Wisconsin, and biomass pellets were sold to
the adjacent Flambeau River Papers Complex to replace
the constant supplemental coal fuel.
Cook Engineering provided development equipment and
process engineering, followed by detailed construction
engineering for installation of the required biomass
processing and conveying systems in an existing building.

The first phase of the project entailed installation of a

four-line home-heating clean-wood pellet system. The
biomass will be processed from whole, debarked logs or
loose purchased wood chips, and will be dried before its
processed and pressed.
The second phase includes installation of four lines
producing RDF-technology one-inch industrial pellets that
will be loaded into rail cars and sold to the Ontario Power
Corporation coal-fired generation plant in Atikokan. The
utility must reduce or replace coal at four of its plants with
a densified biomass alternative by 2012.
Phase 3 of the project is planned to include installation
of four additional lines for a total of 32 tons per hour of
RDF pellet-production capacity. Future plans for the site
also include a biomass cogeneration facility for electrical
power generation.

We subsequently provided start-up commissioning

services on the plant pellet equipment including process
optimization. A second system is operating now at
Wood Residuals Solutions in Montello, Wisconsin, with
additional client systems in progress.

Our teams experience with biomass includes

use of corn stover, switchgrass, oat hulls, and
other alternative fuel sources, as well as the
conversion of existing boilers to biomass fuel.


2010 Barr Engineering Co. and Cook Engineering

for more information contact:

Bruce Browers
phone: 218-529-7107

Bill McLean
phone: 807-625-6727
e-mail: and

resourceful. naturally.