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APL had a booth at the Pacific Nut Producers Expo on November 16th, 2010 in Turlock, CA (Stanislaus County).

We brought the Power Pallet there, and had it running outside on walnut shells with the other nut harvesting and tree care equipment on show. The power pallet ran without issue from 8am to the end of the show around 1:30pm, powering an array of halogen lights.

For many of the farmers, it seemed this was a new idea, but there was a good deal of interest. A few thought the contraption was some sort of still. A few knew about cars running on wood in Europe, but the idea seemed largely unknown.

Process heat is needed for drying walnuts, electricity or torque for water pumps, and there are large supplies of walnut shell and tree trimmings available (one nut processor generates 15 million pounds of walnut shell annually). That’s 6,000 MWh per year, or 700kw of power run 24 hours a day, 350 days a year. At $0.15/kwh, that’s US$900,000 in electricity.

The California Air Resources Board has been phasing out the open burning of agricultural residues (like rice straw, orchard trimmings), so the materials that used to be piled up and burned, are either getting mulched, sold for polishing media, or going to cogen plants hundreds of miles away for $16/ton. As electricity, the shells are worth $120/ton.

Here are some photos from the event:

One Response

  1. Having read your article I am yet more sure that renewable energy production has so many advantages and what you’re doing helps to raise awareness of the techniques and innovative methods which can often be brought into play which are highly viable and can help so many communities.

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