26 August 2007

Wood Energy Day

We had a great day out at our pellet manufacturer's open house yesterday. Our newly blonde employee Mark brought over some grills and had a great time. They fed over 500 people and the food was gone by the time we got there at 1:00. He also did a plug for our store with the remote radio crew. It is very exciting to see the growth and changes of this pellet mill. I still remember seeing our friend Steve's first mill out in his garage. Now his board includes people like Dean Kaymen (Segway), Craig Benson (NH former governor), and Charlie Bass (former NH congressman). They also recently partnered with a biomass energy company out of Texas called Zihlka. They are responsible for the latest addition at the plant. A Co-gen facility. The pellet mill added a sawdust dryer a few years back. This opened up a whole new category of wood product to be used. However, it takes a lot of energy to dry the sawdust. They spend over a million dollars a year in electricity alone. The co-gen is a steam powered jet turbine engine (just like a plane engine) that is powered by wood chip. The engine produces electricity, and the really innovative part is that the heat waste generated by this process is pumped into the dryer to dry the sawdust to make the pellets. They should be able to generate enough power to dry the pellets and have some left to sell back to the grid. It will be the first net metered facility in NH, which (Public Service) generally discourages such competition. Power created on site will be much more efficient than that supplied by the grid. The amount of loss over the grid is outrageous. For every one unit of electricity we use, four must be created. 75% loss! Crazy. The less it travels the less loss there is, so the new co-gen is about 50 feet from the dryer- Can't get much closer than that!

Jet Turbine Engine for Co-Gen

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