Biomass | Tacoma Biomass Power Plant

Forest products company Simpson Investment Co. have announced that they will be building a co-generation power plant at a cost of $100 million at its Tacoma Tideflats paper mill in Washington.

The biomass power plant will burn sawmill and paper mill waste products, debris from logging sites and other wood residuals to generate up to 55MW in renewable energy. The estimate is that the power plant will create enough energy to power up to 40,000 homes each year. The electricity produced from the power plant will be sold to PPM Energy, a power and gas provider based in Portland, Oregon.

Construction of the facility began in January and the company expects to begin producing commercially available power by August 2009.

This is a co-generation facility with the non-renewable portion of the fuel coming from black liquor which is a waste that comes from paper mill waste. Black liquor is a bi-product of the paper pulping process where wood cellulose separates from lignin and other substances.

Dave McEntee, Simpson spokesman said, “Much of the biomass, the wood residuals for this project, come from our sawmill operation. So, it’s the integration to our business where we make the fuel that makes the steam that makes the power now. We’ve integrated the power generation component to our wood products company now.”

It seems as though using the steam that is already being generated through the burning of black liquor and fossil fuels to produce a renewable energy sourced power will become a perfect fit for Simpson when they switch over to burning wood residuals.

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