Posted in Lignetics on May 21, 2013 by Administrator
Port of Pascagoula’s wood pellet facility gets final funding piece
The Port of Pascagoula has gotten the last funding piece in place for its wood pellet facility.
The $196 million bond bill approved during the legislative session that ended in April includes $10 million that will round out the money needed for the $30 million project. The facility will be built along two terminals on the port’s Bayou Casotte.
Port director Mark McAndrews said work should start on the facility by the end of this year, with construction expected to take about 12 months. The plan, he said, is for the facility to start shipping wood pellets by the end of 2014.
To go with the $10 million in bond money, the port is contributing $15 million. Existing terminal operators are contributing $5 million for the wood pellet facility.
Wood pellets are seen as holding significant economic potential for southeastern Mississippi’s timber industry, which has slowed due to the recession’s hit on new housing starts. The pellets are in high demand overseas for use in heating utilities. A handful of wood pellet facilities have started operation in the Pine Belt region within the last couple years. Gulf Coast Renewable Energy announced earlier this year plans for wood pellet facilities in Copiah and George counties, but will use an Alabama port to ship their products.
That illustrates the problem that has plagued the region’s timber industry, McAndrews said. There is plenty to produce and ship, but no dependably cheap way to do so.
The Port of Pascagoula could potentially serve as a primary way to get those wood pellets to market, McAndrews said.
“We’ve been looking at wood pellets as an opportunity for the port for about four or five years. This particular project has been in the works about 18 months,” he said in an interview this week.
The facility will have a similar look to a grain elevator, and will primarily be served by truck. That could change, McAndrews said, if a project to restore continuous rail service along the East Mississippi border is completed. The Rail Authority of East Mississippi received $1 million bonds to advance pre-construction work to restore 56 miles of track that has been closed since the early 1980s.
If the rail project is completed, it would offer wood pellet manufacturers direct rail access to the port. Currently, the rail runs through Mobile before heading west to Pascagoula. The port chipped in funding for an initial feasibility project. The project is geared toward offering cheap transportation for south Mississippi’s wood pellet industry. The $1 million in bond money will pay for an environmental impact analysis and other pre-construction steps, said Geoffrey Clark, RAEM’s executive director. Clark said if the analysis finds no negative impact, the project be eligible for a low-interest construction loan through the Federal Railroad Administration.
The port currently ships lumber, paper products, petroleum products, newsprint and poultry. Most everything it ships are Mississippi-originated products, McAndrews said.
“We’re going to build this wood pellet facility and we think it will be a great benefit to a lot of people in Mississippi,” he said.
Posted in Lignetics on May 14, 2013 by Administrator
Wood pellet exports in North America were up 70 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the third quarter of 2011, according to a new report by the North American Wood Fiber Review.
That’s largely in part because of increased pellet production in the southern U.S. and British Columbia. Production reached a new record of 860,000 tons during that time, according to the report.
The growth is expected to continue as a result of numerous plans for adding capacity, particularly in the U.S. South. This year, numerous plans for new pellet plants have been announced, including a $60 million, 440,000-ton plant by General Biofuels and a 330,000 metric ton-plant by Enova Energy Group. RWE already operates a 750,000 metric ton plant in Waycross, Ga., from which it exports pellets to its coal-fired power stations in Europe.
The report points out that while both Canadian and U.S. wood pellet exports increased, the U.S. south saw a quadruple increase from third quarter of 2011 to third quarter of 2012, while Canadian growth was much slower. It attributes the greater growth in the U.S. to trade relations being established between European power utilities and U.S. pellet producers, as demonstrated by a mid-December announcement from U.K.-based Drax Group plc that revealed plans to build two 450,000-ton pellet plants in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Posted in Lignetics on April 30, 2013 by Administrator
by David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield
A couple of weeks back, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the increasing devastation of forests (trees) in Greece, where as a result of the high cost of energy, impoverished folks who cannot afford electricity or fuel have turned to wood stoves to heat their homes and cook their food.
Although we Canadian’s tend to see Greece as having a much warmer weather, winters in the north and higher elevations are more like those temperatures experienced on the coast of southern British Columbia.
The article went on to highlight the plight of a young man caught chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains near Athens. When confronted he “broke down in tears” pleading that “he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home
he shares with his wife and four small children”.
This is not an isolated incident, in Greece, Germany, France, Spain, Britain, etc. the rate of forest wood poaching for heat and cooking has increased dramatically over the last several years in concert with energy prices.
Fuel poverty in these countries which have embraced the fallacious economics and efficacy of subsidized wind and solar energy, has become endemic. Last September, Reuters reported that in the already troubled economy of Greece, the electricity system was near collapse when the market operator LAGHE was overextended by the subsidies it pays to wind and solar power producers.
The other day I was in a wood stove retailer shop in Trenton and had an interesting conversation with the owner. He told me that the sales of wood stoves, wood pellet and wood boilers, particularly the high efficiency models had more than tripled in the last few years. This coincides with reports from Britain where it is reported that 180,000 new wood stoves were installed in 2011, and in Germany that same year over 400,000 wood and coal burning stoves were purchased for heating ue to increasing rising energy costs. This has led to increasing thefts of wood fuel and rampant poaching of trees on public and private land. And they’re not just burning seasoned wood… plywood, treated, lacquered and painted wood, books, cardboard, paper waste, all which release other dangerous chemical particulates into the air, are being used to create much needed heat.
It is quite apparent that the massive subsidized wind and solar energy developments are resulting in increasing deforestation, destroying the natural carbon syncs they are fraudulently portrayed to mitigate. Peppering and denuding the landscape with subsidized wind turbine and solar industrial installations is only going to increase the use of wood for heat and don’t expect the ideologues of green renewable energy to acknowledge their victims! They have conveniently disengaged from their responsibility and insidious complicity for this victimization of others and the resulting “climate change” problems
they have helped create.
Posted in Lignetics on April 23, 2013 by Administrator
By Doug Harlow
SKOWHEGAN -- How do you keep 1,500 students warm in school all winter and still save money?
The answer is to install a modern biomass boiler that will heat three district schools using locally produced wood pellets.
SAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry speaks in front of the new wood pellet boiler system inside Skowhegan Area High School on Thursday. Colbry said the efficient system could be paid for in fuel savings over the next 10 years.
"It's unique in that it's serving multiple schools, it has a local wood source and, of course, the cost savings," School Administrative District 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry said. "We dug trenches last summer from the high school to Bloomfield Elementary and then over to the middle school for insulated pipes. They're all connected underneath."
The equipment for the district's $1.7 million wood pellet boiler system arrived in a snowstorm the day after Christmas. The $500,000 Hurst pellet boiler is in the basement of Skowhegan Area High School. It is fed with an auger from a 42-ton silo on the east side of the high school, by the football field.
The system runs off of a 3,500-gallon hot water tank, warmed by the wood pellets and circulated in a loop to every room in all three schools, Colbry said.
The school board approved the project in January 2012. State education officials and the local school board already had approved a borrowing package of up to about $2 million, at low interest, for a wood pellet boiler system.
Colbry said Messalonskee High School and two other schools in Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18 did something similar with a boiler that burns wood chips. Schools in North Anson-based SAD 74 use pellet boilers, as do schools in Waterville, Farmington, Unity, Philips and Dexter. SAD 59's Madison Area Memorial High School has installed a geothermal heating system, which taps energy from underground.
Colbry said the wood pellet project was paid for with a low-interest loan from the federal government, under President Barack Obama's stimulus package.
"The pay back will come from the savings from the oil," he said. "You take the cost of the loan, you take the cost of the pellets and the cost of the boiler, compared to what we were spending on oil before -- we're saving between $60,000 and $100,000 a year."
SAD 54 has a five-year contract with the Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens. Colbry said the boiler will burn about 600 tons of wood pellets per year, at $175 per ton, or about $105,000.
The oil equivalent would be twice the cost, he said. He said the loan should be paid off in 10 years.
Colbry said the school board also authorized additional connections to accommodate natural gas, if those plans ever take shape and arrive in Skowhegan. Two existing oil-fired boilers will remain in place in each of the schools' basements for backup and to make hot water during the warmer months, because wood pellet boilers overheat in the spring and fall. There also are propane hot-water heaters in each school.
Colbry said the system is expected to be test-fired at the end of the month and fully operational by the first week of February.
The other towns in SAD 54 are Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock and Smithfield.
Doug Harlow -- 612-2367
Posted in Lignetics on April 16, 2013 by Administrator
Pellet stoves are a great way to save energy and money, but they must be maintained properly. Unlike a wood stove, pellet stoves are operated electrically and have circuits and moving parts. Ron Bashista, who does pellet stove sales and service in western MA, said the most important thing a pellet stove owner can do is thoroughly read the owner’s manual. “Even if you’ve had your pellet stove for ten years, take it out from time to time and read it again. You’ll see something new each time,” said Bashista, whose business is called Rolling Acres. Bashista also offered advice on routine and seasonal maintenance of pellet stoves.
After initial installation:
“The first thing you want to do is check the hopper (where the pellets are held) for spare or foreign parts. Whether the pellet stove is new or used, you want to be sure you’re not running something through the auger (the part that moves the pellets to the feed pot for burning),” said Bashista. He added that unless you feel you are skilled enough to do the installation yourself, it’s better to hire a professional. Proper installation and really getting to know your “stove to a T” will lay the groundwork for fewer problems down the line. “If you have trouble right out of the gate, it tends to leave a bad taste in your mouth,” said Bashista.
Preparing your pellet stove for the new heating season:
Bashista said that you want to be sure all parts of the pellet stove, pipes, and chimney ware clean and free of debris or rodents. Any pellets that were in the stove should have been removed at the end of the last heating season. Pellets absorb water and break down, so you need to burn off or scoop out any remaining pellets at the end of the season.
Your chimney may require a cap or screen to keep rodents out. I found this out the hard way myself. Capping your chimney also keeps out rain and moisture. Bashista said it’s important to remember to uncap your chimney before trying to start up your pellet stove for the season.
He said next to do a test run without the fire to make sure nothing froze up during the off season. “You want to be sure the basic mechanical parts are all functioning,” said Bashista.
Pellet stove maintenance during the heating season:
“It’s important to pay attention to your stove every day. Just by walking by notice how it sounds and if there is any black smoke where it shouldn’t be for example,” said Bashista.
Bashista said that weekly cleaning is very important as is using quality pellets. “In the end, it’s more economical to spend the extra five bucks. Don’t shop on price alone,” he said.
There are three types of pellets: hardwood, softwood, and a blend of the two. Hardwood burns faster and hotter, and therefore more cleanly. Softwood burns slower and less hot, but leaves more ash behind. Various blends mix the two qualities.
Clean the stove weekly. Bashista said there are special cleaning agents for stoves, but they really aren’t necessary. Primarily, you are cleaning out the firebox and any glass. Bashista recommends an ash vacuum to get out as much ash as possible once the stove has cooled down. Otherwise, scoop out any ash, wipe down the inside, and use any glass cleaning product for stove windows. I have found that steel wool is especially good for getting the burned on grime off of the glass.
Preparing your pellet stove for the end of the season:
Again, make sure your stove is well-cleaned. Bashista said that 99 percent of all mechanical problems can be traced to the stove not being clean enough. You can also unscrew any panels or pipes the stove has and vacuum out the inside. Remove all pellets for the hopper.
If you do encounter problems with your pellet stove, Bashista said to not be afraid to call in a professional. While pellet stoves are not mechanically complicated, it helps to have someone working on your stove that can troubleshoot more easily and have quick access to replacement parts.
Cris Carl interviewes this Boston-area HVAC contractor for Networx.com.
Read the original article here.