What Is Biomass?

Biomass (sometimes called Boiler Fuel) is an energy source derived from renewable and sustainable organic materials to create electricity or other forms of power. It is typically plant-based but also includes agricultural and municipal wastes.

Using wood for fire is the most common source of biomass energy today and is employed worldwide.

Biomass fuels include:

  • wood from scrap lumber, forest debris, and other waste wood streams
  • crops such as corn, sugarcane, bamboo, sorghum, grasses and small trees
  • agricultural and municipal waste
  • Biomass is either converted to various types of biofuel or used directly by burning. Burning creates heat and produces steam which turns a turbine generating electricity. Emissions are typically less than when using fossil fuels.


The Astec Way

Peterson horizontal grinders and drum chippers are highly productive machines for creating biomass. Our machines will typically arrive on site after a logging crew has pulled out the merchantable lumber, and will clean up the residual piles of tops, loose limbs, and stumps, processing the green waste into energy chips or hog fuel.

Peterson horizontal grinders are available with tracks, to help navigate logging sites or other difficult terrain, and their discharge conveyor height is ideal for top loading trailers.

Peterson drum chippers are highly mobile, and have end load or optional top load spouts for loading trailers. A built-in chip accelerator packs the wood chips tightly into the van ensuring the maximum load possible.

Recommended Tooling

Grinding Bits

Clean, cut wood fragments produced by the Peterson Knife Edge Bits are critical in facilitating an even flow of material traveling via the conveyor system to the boiler for biomass fuel. The heat-treated steel forging with highly aggressive cutting edges increases production and reduces fuel consumption when grinding in a clean, contaminant free environment. The edges of these bits can be re-sharpened multiple times while remaining installed on the rotor


Grate selection can vary depending on the size of the final product desired. As a general rule, smaller opening grates (2” or 4” hex) are installed in the first two positions as these grates do the majority of the product sizing. Progressively larger openings (4”, 6” or 8” hex) are installed in the following positions and are used as “exhaust” grates allowing sized product to exit the mill. Add a 2” or 3” square Peterson Breaker grate in the #1 position to reduce spearing.


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