Summary Report for:
51-8099.03 - Biomass Plant Technicians
Control and monitor biomass plant activities and perform maintenance as needed.
Sample of reported job titles: Auxiliary Operator, Boiler Operator, Central Heating Plant Operator, Fuel Handler, Fuel Quality Technician (Fuel Quality Tech), Heating Plant Operator, Operations Technician (Operations Tech), Plant Operator, Plant Technician, Steam Plant Operator
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings
- Operate biomass fuel-burning boiler or biomass fuel gasification system equipment in accordance with specifications or instructions.
- Perform tests of water chemistry in boilers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Operate valves, pumps, engines, or generators to control and adjust production of biofuels or biomass-fueled power.
- Calculate, measure, load, or mix biomass feedstock for power generation.
- Clean work areas to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
- Perform routine maintenance or make minor repairs to mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment in biomass plants.
- Measure and monitor raw biomass feedstock, including wood, waste, or refuse materials.
- Calibrate liquid flow devices or meters, including fuel, chemical, and water meters.
- Assess quality of biomass feedstock.
- Read and interpret instruction manuals or technical drawings related to biomass-fueled power or biofuels production equipment or processes.
- Operate heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and front-end loaders.
- Preprocess feedstock to prepare for biochemical or thermochemical production processes.
- Manage parts and supply inventories for biomass plants.
- Analytical or scientific software — Energy analysis software
- Development environment software — National Instruments LabVIEW
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- 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
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- 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
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- 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.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- 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.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- 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.
- 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.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- 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.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Detailed Work Activities
- Operate biomass or biofuel production equipment.
- Test fluids to identify contamination or other problems.
- Test materials, solutions, or samples.
- Record operational or production data.
- Inspect sustainable energy production facilities or equipment.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Calculate specific material, equipment, or labor requirements for production.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Clean work areas.
- Maintain sustainable energy production equipment.
- Measure stock or liquid levels in sustainable fuel production systems.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
- Prepare biological feedstock for physical, chemical, or biological processing.
- Evaluate quality of materials or products.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Operate heavy-duty construction or installation equipment.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 96% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 77% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Exposed to High Places — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Consequence of Error — 63% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Contact With Others — 61% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 59% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 54% responded “Some freedom.”
- Telephone — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 58% responded “Very important results.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 38% responded “Important.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “About half the time.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 34% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Degree of Automation — 61% responded “Moderately automated.”
- Electronic Mail — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 29% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Interest code: RCI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- 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.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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 & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Plant and System Operators, All Other.
Employment data for Plant and System Operators, All Other.
Industry data for Plant and System Operators, All Other.
|Median wages (2019)||$28.07 hourly, $58,390 annual|
|Employment (2018)||12,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Little or no change (-1% to 1%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||1,400|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.