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Surprisingly to most people, using waste wood to fire a power station is extremely environment-friendly. First of all it’s a renewable resource, it’s also a by-product that would not be used otherwise and best of all it is completely CO2neutral. Tegra, a Swiss energy company uses it to produce 350,000 megawatt hours of energy annually. For their ground-breaking initiative, they won Switzerland’s prestigious Watt d’Or award. Cat® machines are part of the success-story.

Tegra was founded in 2004 and already two years later the first boiler of their wood-waste-fired steam-electric generating station went online. In 2008 a third one started to produce energy. On average, the three boilers generate 128,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, corresponding to the annual consumption of 27,200 houses, and 220,000 megawatt-hours of heating energy, corresponding to the annual consumption of 23,000 houses. The plant delivers processing steam and electricity to a nearby sawmill and a chemical plant and helps them to minimise their use of fossil fuels.

Cat wheel loader fuels boiler

The whole plant burns about 260,000 tonnes of waste wood annually. Tegra runs a fleet of trucks and trailers to transport wood-chips, bark and sawdust from different locations to the plant. 800 tonnes or 2100 cubic metres of waste wood are processed every day in three shifts between 05.00 in the morning and 23.00 at night.

To fuel their first boiler Tegra bought a Cat wheel loader. The 962H proved to be a reliable tool with an excellent availability. “Service and customer-support by the local Cat dealer Avesco is great”, says Klaus Aulbach, logistic coordinator for Tegra.

Recently they bought a Cat M322D MH material handler and a waste wood grinder for processing low quality logs, pallets and unpainted construction timber.

With all three boilers being online and 2100 cubic metres of fuel being processed every day, it was soon time to get a second wheel loader. “Never change a winning team”, was Klaus Aulbach’s comment on the acquisition of a Caterpillar 966H.

Supplied by Avesco, the loader is equipped with a giant 12 cubic metres wood-chip bucket. For safety reasons, Tegra developed a camera-system for the 966H wheel loader. What looks like a submarine periscope on the canopy, is a stick with two cameras on top. If the driver shifts backwards the small screen in the cab shows everything that is happening behind the loader. As soon as the machine rolls forward the screen switches to front view.

The main purpose of the wheel loaders is to blend and stockpile wood-chips, bark and sawdust. But they are also used for fuelling the boilers by dumping blended material onto the feeder hoppers.

The satisfying fuel consumption and the first class support by Avesco are some of the reasons why Tegra will stick to Cat machinery for future thermal power station projects in Switzerland.