Continental Biomass Industries
Founded in 1988, Continental Biomass Industries (CBI) is an industry leading engineering firm that develops grinding, chipping, and shredding systems for the biofuel sector. Spawning from a former land clearing and waste grinding company, CBI realized the industry opportunities in the biomass segment and how woodchip byproducts could be easily converted into valuable forms of biofuel.
Requiring robust machinery capable of grinding various forms of biomass, Anders Ragnarsson, President and CEO of Continental Biomass Industries, soon recognized that he needed to design and develop his own equipment to meet this purpose. Described as the most durable and efficient wood grinder available on the market, the ‘Grizzly Mill’ operates with kinetic energy to increase its operational efficiency while also outperforming any competitor products.
“The one I bought wasn’t working well, so we had to build our own machine to get the job done,” Ragnarsson told The Canadian Business Journal. “As a consequence of that, other companies saw our machine and wanted one of their own, so in the late 1980s we went from a land clearing and grinding operation to an equipment manufacturer.”
CBI has designed and built leading-edge equipment for a variety of biomass processing facilities. The equipment has revolutionized the industry, capitalizing on both the profitability and environmentally responsible benefits of biomass production. CBI machinery grinds wood waste, bark, and sawmill residue in a more cost-effective manner than anything else available to the marketplace.
“We build a higher quality product than any of our competitors. It costs more to purchase, but it also costs a lot less to operate. It is a more robust, longer lasting, higher quality machine. These machines are designed to run for decades. They can be taken apart and rebuilt; it is not a throwaway piece of equipment,” Ragnarsson explained. “Our smallest portable machine has a diesel engine of 765 horsepower, whereas a lot of our competitors make machines from 100 horsepower and up. We have a niche in making cost-effective machines. We do business with the large producers who understand value, cost per tonne, and looking long term.”
CBI recognizes client demand for custom-built equipment and often develops systems that are tailored to precisely suit customer need, with a design that emphasizes efficiency and cost-effectiveness. As an example, the company manufactures purpose-built stationary systems for complete recycling of construction and demolition waste, plus production of refuse derived fuel.
“It is a curse and a blessing; it is not easy to make a lot of machines, but we build them exactly to meet customers’ needs, which then give them their competitive edge,” Ragnarsson detailed. “Very seldom do we try to sell a piece of equipment. We sell a solution to a problem.”
Proving the benefits of its technology, CBI recently converted its facility with a state-of-the-art biomass heating system. Developed in-house, this heating technology combusts a variety of biofuels to generate more affordable wood burning that replaces traditional fuel oil heating.
CBI is on the forefront of environmental sustainability, processes practical, cost-effective solutions for clients around the globe, including South America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Scandinavia, and Russia. The company continues to establish a strong presence in these markets and, in an industry that continues to grow and expand, CBI investigates new and better ways to recover biomass from the rich natural resources around the world.
Traditionally, CBI manufactures grinders for saw and pulp mills, although the company also develops specialized chippers which produce high grade pulp, converting about 15 per cent more of the biofuels into high quality pulp, compared to traditional milling. This method uses a ‘debarker’ placed in front of the chipper which removes the wood bark and then chips for pulp, thus producing a higher quality end product. Given its results, the debarking method has continued to grow in popularity across all of CBI’s international markets.
“Our company is poised for a lot of growth. The world is going green and eventually landfills will be a thing of the past. Landfills are a horrible thing to do to our environment, and we have built a system that diverts a lot of this material,” Ragnarsson concluded. “You will see CBI continue to play an important role in waste diversion.”