Business: Alternative Energy Products
In business since: 1989
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Doosan equipment: DX225LC-5 crawler excavators; DL300-5, DL280-5 and DL220-3 wheel loaders
Doosan dealer: Bobcat of Nashville
Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, now boasting more than a half-million residents, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Alternative Energy Products is cashing in on the growth by using organic material to supply a much needed commodity: mulch.
Started more than 30 years ago, Alternative Energy Products has grown to become the area’s largest maker of mulch.
“We perform contract work in the city of Nashville and surrounding cities to grind trees into mulch,” says Kyle King, grandson of the company’s founder. “We are an alternative to the landfill, and we recycle wood and make products for beneficial reuse. We have about 400 customers now and haul 125 tractor-trailer loads per week during our busy season.”
Why the Demand?
It’s simple. Mulch serves three main purposes: retaining moisture, regulating soil temperatures and suppressing weeds. These are all practical and, in many cases, necessary features for landscapers — especially in communities with new housing.
Developers in the Nashville area can source local mulch from Alternative Energy Products to help homeowners who will need mulch around their homes, landscapes and trees. It serves a practical
purpose by helping to minimize water consumption, a significant consideration in neighborhoods where homeowners are maintaining new landscapes.
It’s not just residential neighborhoods that depend on mulch. Goods from Alternative Energy Products are used for top-dressing additives, erosion control, walking trails and International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) certified playground material.
Trees grown in Middle Tennessee are the primary resource for the company’s many products. In addition to harvesting trees, it works with local cities and towns to help clean up after storms leave many trees and branches behind. Instead of transporting these organic, recyclable materials to landfills to slowly decay,
Alternative Energy Products is hired to remove the wood and take it to their facilities to be processed.
“When I first started four years ago, we weren’t processing as much material, but now it doesn’t stop,” Kyle says. “As the company grew, we kept doing more and more work and our equipment couldn’t keep up.”
Heavy equipment plays a big role in the mulching process, and that’s why Alternative Energy Products decided it was time to upgrade from its old equipment. Today the company operates three facilities
in the Nashville area, and dependable equipment is a must to sustain its growth. Company representatives met with the local Doosan equipment dealer — Bobcat of Nashville — to determine the machines critical to its future. The result: upgrading its fleet to include Doosan® crawler excavators and wheel loaders.
“My grandfather had built a relationship with the dealership for many years and decided it was the right fit for us,” Kyle says. “It really came down to the warranty options, so he took the leap and it’s been great.”
Sales specialist Ryan Vaughn works closely with Kyle to provide guidance on equipment and attachment solutions.
“Ryan and the staff at Bobcat of Nashville are more personal than some other dealers,” Kyle says. “They treat you as a friend instead of another company or just a number. If we have something that needs to be serviced, or any issue, the dealer will be here super-fast to get it taken care of and get us back on track. They really understand the importance of not having our equipment down.”
With reliable Doosan® equipment and attachments, the mulching process has become simpler.
When customers contact Alternative Energy Products for help disposing of trees, Kyle and his crew transport their Doosan DX225LC-5 crawler excavator, a DL300-5 wheel loader and a horizontal grinder to the site. There, the excavator is used to load trees into the grinder.
“Many of the city sites can be kind of tight, but the DX225LC-5 works out great since it’s so mobile and versatile,” Kyle says.
Excavator operators can easily switch between buckets thanks to the Doosan machine’s hydraulic quick coupler. An operator simply presses a button inside the excavator and swaps buckets in a matter of minutes. Kyle and his operators pair the excavator’s bucket with a thumb to efficiently grab organic material and load it into the grinder.
Once the material is processed, the DL300-5 is paired with a large-capacity, light-material bucket to load the material into a truck for transporting back to the company’s yard. Then, another Doosan wheel loader stockpiles the material. Eventually, it will be processed again through a separate grinder and then dried for approximately 48 hours before being colored.
“We manufacture 17 different products and a variety of blends of soil amendments and top dressing for landscapers and golf courses,” Kyle says. “Obviously, these stockpiles take up a lot of room. Our Doosan wheel loader can pull up to the material instead of us having to build a ramp like we had to for our previous machine. We are saving a lot of time.”
After coloring, the material ages on-site until it is ready to be sold, loaded and distributed to area landscapers. In a sense, this completes the circle of putting the natural material back into the community.
Early success with Doosan machines has led to more purchases. Today, the company owns nine pieces of Doosan equipment, including a new DL280-5 high-lift model.
“With Doosan wheel loaders, we have taken our business to the next level,” Kyle says. “It now takes me seven minutes to load a truck, compared to taking 20 minutes with smaller wheel loaders and a six-yard bucket."
With Doosan wheel loaders, we have taken our business to the next level, it now takes me seven minutes to load a truck, compared to taking 20 minutes with smaller wheel loaders and a six-yard bucket.
Kyle King turned to sales specialist Ryan Vaughn for advice about getting more wheel loader lift height. Ryan came through with a high-lift iteration of the Doosan® DL300-5 wheel loader, which provides ample height to load organic material into trucks or grinding equipment. The high-lift model gives Kyle an additional 21 inches of dump height, making it possible to load the material more efficiently.