Refinery to go

Andreas Zeller has built a refinery. It’s small, compact, and mobile when it needs to be. With it, he makes renewable fuel from local raw materials, for local customers.

March 28, 2013

Thanks to a certain stubbornness, the Zeller company in Mutterstadt (Germany) has grown to become an established regional vendor in a relatively short amount of time. It supplies power plants as well private customers within a 100 kilometre radius with customized Zelltherm brand fuel. Zeller can tailor the grain, heat value, ash content and ultimately the price to individual customer needs. The range of services extends from straightforward fuel sales to heat contracting, including operation of the heating plant and a guaranteed fuel supply.

The heart of the system is a new Multistar star screen, painted bright yellow. It is fed by upstream shredder via an intermediate hopper, which allows the addition of other material. The Multistar separates into four fractions: Fines for composting, two fuel fractions with different grain, and woody oversizes which go back for reshredding. Electronic conveyor scales give precise data on output, which Andreas Zeller can access remotely at any time.
His motto is “it has to pay”, and he regularly examines volume flows and material streams to adjust his system and processes for the optimum economy. He likes the way the screening system gives him to the flexibility to do that. “I can respond to different material properties or new customer requirements instantly just by changing the screen cuts. You can’t do that with drum screens.”

Andreas Zeller spends a lot of time ata desk, but that doesn’t prevent him from regularly doing hands-on work. “When I help with the maintenance on a machine or operate a wheel loader a couple of hours loading the star screen, it lets me know what really works versus what only works on paper.” Sometimes during a quiet moment he reflects on what he has accomplished at a young age - turning what was originally a container service into a broadband recycling operation, and entering the challenging field of biomass energy. Andreas Zeller is convinced that it will be of enormous importance to his business, and to the future environment.