Innovative Moisture Measurement Technology by INADCO
INADCO Moisture Measurement BV located in the Dutch city of Eersel is expanding with their innovative moisture meters. Novelty is the Moisturemeter II which has a patent pending. The Moisturemeter II will allow the users to have continuous measurements of moisture levels.
Since 2000 INADCO is the market leader in Europe for equipment that measures the Bulk Density of Growing Media like potting soil and peat according to the European standard EN12580.
Initially the INADCO Moisture Measurement technology was developed to be used in these potting soil and peat markets and lead to the development and introduction of the Moisturemeter I in 2006.
Based on the principles of the Moisturemeter I, the Moisturemeter II is a new innovation initially developed to be used in the Biomass industry. The Moisturemeter II makes the technology available for measuring a wide range of raw materials used and the more industrial uses of Biomass like power plants.
For generation of green energy, for some time now the prices of the Biomass feedstock goes up and the quality goes down. While years ago only high quality biomass was used to convert into energy, nowadays there is an cost induced urge to use all different sorts of residual materials like forest residues, manure and agricultural waste materials as a feedstock. Biomass fired installations using that low quality feedstock face the problem of the big and sometimes sudden changes in moisture content and hence heating value. The higher the moisture percentage in the Biomass the lower the energy yield will be in the boiler since the water in the Biomass requires the installation to generate more energy for water heating and evaporation. For the highest yield possible the controls for the combustion process in the boiler always need to be adjusted when moisture percentages change. If controls are not adjusted properly the yield of the Biomass will go down and the emissions of Carbon Monoxide and NOx will increase. In some cases it is even possible that the burning process will stop.
The new Moisturemeter II is one complete apparatus capable of doing all necessary measurements to be able to process also low quality feedstock. It is built around a conveyor belt and even has an integrated belt scale. As a result the Moisturemeter II can measure Biomass while it is being fed into the boiler. The INADCO moisture technology in combination with state-of-the-art laser sensor technology for Volume scanning and a high accuracy weighing system it guarantees instant information such as:
- Mass flow
- Volume flow
- Flow of dry solids
- Flow of water
- Moisture percentage,
- Temperature of the product
- Total mass
- Bulk density
- Real time calorific value of the dry matter (in combination with the fuel value)
These parameters are available as actual values and as averages and totals within the batch
A main novelty on the Moisturemeter II is the special by INADCO developed moisture sensor with a length of up to 1.2 mtr and a width of 0.5 mtr. This makes that the Moisturemeter II is the only apparatus available on the market which is also able of measuring very rough bulk materials with big air inclusions like big woodchips, grass, peat and manure. From a particle size like sawdust till granularities like French Fries. And even larger.
When asked about the new innovation the INADCO CEO Theo Coolen stated: “It is very exciting that the technology that made us a market leader in other markets with our Bulk density-meter and our Moisturemeter I has now evolved into the most accurate Biomass measuring equipment available on the market. We are very enthusiastic to be able to assist the Biomass industry with our expertise and solutions in realizing a higher output at a lower cost both from a financial and an environmental perspective”.
Presenting the Moisturemeter II for Biomass during several international exhibitions resulted in not only interest from the power markets but also from food processing industries. A result of this is that a leading Dutch company, active in developing and producing equipment for the worldwide potato processing industry has adopted the INADCO technology to be used for optimizing processes in there standard product range. In close cooperation with this company the decision was made to re-engineer the Moisturemeter II in such a way so that it meets EHEDG principles and is compatible with food engineering standards. The result is an all stainless steel and plastics EC1935/2004 compliant apparatus that can now also be implemented in many other industries, not only food processing or biomass facilities but also other processes where other rough materials are processed. INADCO expanded with this modification not only their product range but they can also implement the technology in a much wider range of industries.
Application example: Production of French fries
A company producing French fries wanted to increase and stabilize the quality of the fries during the production. The most important issue was that the moisture content of the fries had to be more consistent over time before the fries were baked in oil. The moisture content of the fries at that moment determines the flavor, color, texture and bite of the fries. INADCO did a lot of testing in that factory to test their measuring principles with different types of French fries, wedges and other product shapes. A Moisturemeter was placed just behind the dryer so that the moisture content of the product was measured online. Using a Moisturemeter II in that line and thus having real time measurement of the moisture content could result in that the company could produce in a more steady drying sequence that increases the quality of the fries so that all fries have the same flavor, color, texture and bite after baking them in oil.