Equipment Spotlight Feature Article   Waste-to-Fuel Equipment

E-maiil the author

Manufacturer List

CH4 Biogas
Lauren Toretta

Clean Burn LLC
Tina Phillips

Kagi Heating Supplies & Mfg., Inc.
Tom Kagi

Untha Shredding Technology America, Inc.
Bernhard Mueggler

Jeff Wolfe

Warren & Baerg Manufacturing, Inc.
Randy Baerg

Zero Waste Energy Systems
Bruce Coxhead

Mainstream fuel options continue to be as costly and untenable as ever, and so growth in waste-to-energy (WTE) market sectors may come as no surprise to most.

Kagi Heating Supplies and Manufacturing, Inc. manufactures, distributes and services Kagi multi-fuel waste oil burners. The Kagi product burns waste motor oil, hydraulic oil, crank case oil, light gear oils (up to 50 weight), waste vegetable oil and stove oil to name a few. “Our product is used primarily with forced air heaters and boilers used to heat commercial buildings, small shops, garages, greenhouses, swimming pools, saunas and many more applications,” explained Tom Kagi, Jr., vice president. Kagi burners have been in production in one form or another for nearly 30 years. The current models have been produced for more than 18 years. “Even though we could buy them from China for less, our burners and components are made in the U.S.,” Kagi noted.


Kagi offers two products: the burners in each product have different heat ranges (Btu output). The 250 Series burner Btu range is from 100,000 to 350,000 Btu and the 500 Series burner has a range of 350,000 to 700,000 Btu. There are various burner options available when atypical applications are involved; for instance, different blast tube lengths and a choice of models with an on-board pump or a remote pump set up. A European model is also available for non-domestic customers.

“Allowable by the EPA for small generators of waste oil, this is a positive and economical way to safely dispose of waste oils. Our product is unique because the burner is more field-service friendly than others since we do not use many proprietary parts. Also, clients frequently tell us that they are unhappy with competitor products and the high price of replacement parts when those burners no longer function. Users love the Kagi burner because it is very easy to set up and use, and customers can learn how to service the product themselves. We offer classes to anyone who’d like to learn how to assemble and service their burner,” Kagi said.

Kagi burners are used with forced air heaters and boilers. Individual installation depends on the heater or boiler manufacturer’s guidelines and local building and fire codes. Users need a compressed air supply and storage and containment for the fuel supply. The customer must settle and filter the fuel before use.

Kagi has received customer service awards and clients often report that the product manual is informative and that they appreciate Kagi’s troubleshooting assistance via the telephone. “We want clients to be happy with our product and we strive to offer quality burners and customer service. Our burner loaner program is available at no cost so our customers never have to be without heat. A burner can be shipped to us for service or repair and they can use one of our burners until we return the other one. No one else in the industry does that,” explained Kagi.

Untha Shredding

“The perfect solution for waste-to-energy needs is Untha’s XR/TR combination,” stated Bernhard Mueggler, CEO of Untha America. Together, the XR pre-shredder and the TR secondary shredder convert household and industrial waste into secondary fuel. “Reducing waste volume, creating consistency, and stabilizing the organic substances within are the first steps in the waste-to-energy process. First, the waste undergoes pre-shredding with the XR, producing coarse and medium-sized particles. Through separation technology, ferrous and nonferrous, inert, PVC and heavy fraction material are then removed. Then, the waste can be processed through the TR, yielding fine particles which can be burned as fuel, producing heat,” Mueggler explained.

The shredding provided by the XR and TR models converts waste into a consistent and repeatable fuel. With uniform fuel, the combustion system can be geared toward that particular fuel, thus creating an efficient process resulting in less ash and higher energy output. Waste-to-energy facilities encounter trash ranging from mattresses to newspapers, so their equipment must shred a wide range of material.

According to Mueggler, “The XR/TR combination easily processes these materials and there’s no need to use the machines with mass incinerators. They can be used in conjunction with the latest gasification technology, which is clean and efficient. The XR has been operating worldwide for decades, while the recently debuted TR is already drawing accolades. The patented shredding chamber of the TR provides continuous output without a ram. Eliminating the ram reduces maintenance and increases capacity. The cutting system can be changed in less than an hour, giving the operator an extra three weeks per year of operating time.”

The Untha system can be used as a stand-alone system creating refuse-derived fuel (RDF) as the end product. “We have some units installed in WTE facilities, but a large percentage is in RDF production facilities that sell the fuel to other companies,” Mueggler reported. He added, “In the RDF market, it seems there are challenges in getting plants permitted & financed and WTE plants also struggle due to environmental concerns. Gasification to create ethanol or diesel seems to be the quickest route to EPA acceptance.”

Warren & Baerg

Randy Baerg is president of Warren & Baerg Manufacturing, Inc. (W&B) He said, “We manufacture individual components and full systems to process waste materials into a clean fuel that is easily added to a company’s major fuel flow. Cleaned, sorted and prepared waste materials can produce a fuel that produces fewer emissions and waste than most of the other mainstream fossil fuels, and those being used to generate steam and or electricity.”

Baerg noted that this realization is spreading in the U.S. as clear guidelines and regulations are put in place and history shows that if a facility is properly set up for their existing fuels, alternative fuels such as those produced by W&B equipment, are easily handled with the facility’s existing scrubbing systems.

“The key machine in our systems is the Model 250 or Model 300 cuber, which takes dry, sorted and ground paper, cardboard wastes, film plastics or wood materials and compresses them into a dense 1.25” cube that is much like a pellet only larger. Each cuber produces four to eight tons of cubes per hour. The cuber offers several benefits over other densification machines: the larger, densified product requires less grinding than others and is more forgiving of large materials that may find their way through the system and into the cuber,” Baerg said. W&B also manufactures conveyors – drag chain and belt type – augers, surge bins, metering bins and other equipment utilized in the system or independently.

Baerg reports that most systems in operation are smaller with 1 or 2 cubers operating between 8 to 24 hours per day, producing 4 to 8 tons per hour. If waste flow supply is from a manufacturer’s regular waste from production lines, a small, simple system can be set up within 60 to 90 days, from order to start-up. Larger facilities typically operate between two to six cubers. There are larger facilities in Europe and Asia, set up to process 1,000 to 1,500 tons per day, requiring up to 10 to 20 cubers per system.

“The domestic waste-to-fuel industry seems to be growing regionally, and even higher growth is seen in Europe and Asia. More companies are learning they have all of the items in place for cuber systems to work well and save money. With excess clean waste materials, high landfill costs, high fuel costs and shortage of good fuels, companies increasingly prefer to recycle or turn their waste to fuel, depending on which market is better. We see growth, domestically and overseas, in manufacturing wastes such as paper, cardboards, separated MSW and film plastics, mixed in with other materials or alone, up to 95 percent film plastics. Processing, cleaning, grinding and cubing this waste into fuel are some of the excellent choices available to reduce waste and utilize a clean fuel,” explained Baerg.