Air Burners, Volvo CE, and Rolls-Royce: Developing Wood-Burning EV Chargers


Image source by Air Burners.

In a collaboration between Volvo CE and Rolls-Royce (the power production company), the company Air Burners developed the BioCharger, an off-grid EV charger. In a closed-loop system, BioCharger burns wood, from which heat is then converted into electric energy and stored in a Battery Storage Module (BSM). Hence, the stored energy can be used for charging EVs, construction equipment, and power tools in remote locations.

President of Air Burners, Brian O’Connor, said “While electric machinery becomes increasingly popular in the fight against climate change, when it comes to forest management, we must have practical solutions for charging electric machinery away from traditional power sources,”, adding that “The Air Burners’ BioCharger provides that solution and manages wood waste, all done in an economical and environmentally conscious way.

The goal is to face the challenges in remote areas, especially considering construction equipment. It is said that the closed-loop system is able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter, while also converting otherwise wasted heat into electricity. The 450 kWh EV charging station was built together with Rolls-Royce.

Dr. Ray Gallant, vice president of sustainability and productivity services at Volvo CE, said, “This collaboration with Air Burners for the BioCharger allows us to demonstrate one of the more nonconventional sources to fast-charge our equipment in off-grid locations,

Furthermore, the sales director at Rolls-Royce Solutions America, Kevin McKinney, said “The BioCharger is a unique application for our mtu EnergyPack battery energy storage system that I think shows just how versatile energy storage can be,”, adding that “The BioCharger’s ability to reduce emissions and generate energy through responsible handling of vegetative waste perfectly aligns with our targets to support our customers with innovative solutions for the transition to clean power generation.

The BioCharger is tested with a prototype of the 23-ton Volvo EC230 Crawler Electric Excavator across North America, which is expected to be launched later in 2024.

Ashton Henning

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