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Biomass Plant Technicians
SOC Code: 51-8099.03

Control and monitor biomass plant activities and perform maintenance as needed.

Sample of reported job titles: Auxiliary Engineer, Auxiliary Operator, Biomass Facilitator, Boiler Operator, Control Room Operator, Equipment Operator, Fuel Handler, Fuel Quality Tech, Instrumentation and Controls Technician, Plant Operator

Tasks

  • Operate biomass fuel-burning boiler or biomass fuel gasification system equipment in accordance with specifications or instructions.
  • Operate valves, pumps, engines, or generators to control and adjust production of biofuels or biomass-fueled power.
  • Operate equipment to start, stop, or regulate biomass-fueled generators, generator units, boilers, engines, or auxiliary systems.
  • Inspect biomass power plant or processing equipment, recording or reporting damage and mechanical problems.
  • Record or report operational data, such as readings on meters, instruments, and gauges.
  • Clean work areas to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
  • Measure and monitor raw biomass feedstock, including wood, waste, or refuse materials.
  • Perform routine maintenance or make minor repairs to mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment in biomass plants.
  • Read and interpret instruction manuals or technical drawings related to biomass-fueled power or biofuels production equipment or processes.
  • Operate high-pressure steam boiler or water chiller equipment for electrical cogeneration operations.
  • Operate equipment to heat biomass, using knowledge of controls, combustion, and firing mechanisms.
  • Assess quality of biomass feedstock.
  • Calculate, measure, load, or mix biomass feedstock for power generation.
  • Manage parts and supply inventories for biomass plants.
  • Preprocess feedstock to prepare for biochemical or thermochemical production processes.
  • Calibrate liquid flow devices or meters, including fuel, chemical, and water meters.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Energy analysis software
  • Development environment software - National Instruments LabVIEW
  • Industrial control software - Distributed control system DCS
  • Inventory management software - Inventory control software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Air dryers - Biomass dryers
  • Batching plants or feeders - Reclaim feeders
  • Belt conveyors - Belt conveyor systems
  • Conveyor feeders - Fuel metering conveyors
  • Desktop computers
  • Dump trucks
  • Extendable conveyors - Radial stackers
  • Fire tube boilers - Biomass boilers; Bubbling fluidized bed boilers; Circulating fluidized bed boilers
  • Front end loaders - Wheeled front end loaders
  • Grinding mills - Grinders; Tub grinders
  • Hammer mills - Hammer hogs
  • Intake structures - Biomass screeners; Disc screeners
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Steam engines - Steam turbines
  • Steam generators - Heat recovery steam generators
  • Truck or rail scales - Drive-on scales
  • Water samplers
  • Water tube boiler - Steam boilers

Knowledge

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities

  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Interests

  • Interest code: RCI
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 53% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 56% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 54% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 47% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 67% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 36% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 43% responded “Very important results.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 39% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure - 32% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 38% responded “Important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 33% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to High Places - 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 36% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 29% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 33% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 43% responded “About half the time.”
  • Electronic Mail - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 29% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment - 25% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 41% responded “Less than half the time.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
65%High school diploma or equivalent
24%Post-secondary certificate
7%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $27.08 hourly, $56,330 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 12,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Slower than average (2% to 4%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,200

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