Monday, August 31, 2009

Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt to the Times

Northwest Renewable’s original plan was to begin producing corn-based ethanol at the Mint Farm in June 2008. But the company’s 31-acre property has sat idle since the company broke ground on the $100 million project in December 2006. In the years since, U.S. Ethanol’s parent company, Makad Corp., has been redesigning the plant to incorporate the newest technology and comply with air emission laws, Makad Corp. told The Daily News last November.

As bankruptcies and shutdown wracked the ethanol industry over the last year, Longview city officials say they’ve been working for several months with Northwest Renewable to develop the biomass power plant project.
Northwest Renewable LLC has planned construction on a bio-ethanol production plant for Longview, Washington, since 2006. But the economic downturn and shakeups in the ethanol industry caused them to change their plans: they are now planning a cellulosic electricity power generation plant.
Northwest Renewable, LLC, a Vancouver-based company owned by U.S. Ethanol, estimates the $72.5 million “biomass” power project will create up to 400 construction jobs and up to 70 permanent jobs through logging and processing of the wood products.

In addition to jobs, the 24-megawatt “biomass direct combustion electric power plant” also would significantly add to the city’s tax base when it is complete at 1100 Weber Ave.

Various wood-waste sources — including wood chips and hog fuel — would be burned to generate steam. The high pressure steam would drive a turbine to churn out power. _DailyNews_via_BiofuelsDigest
A lot of maize ethanol projects have shut down, or been abandoned in planning stages. But when a company has already invested millions in an ethanol project, it makes sense to convert the project to something more profitable, if they can.

Cellulosic electricity from biomass waste and from planned biomass growth, is a coming industry. As long as governments subsidize unreliable wind and solar plants, the need for reliable baseload backup power will grow. Nuclear may be the best baseload power, but cellulosic electricity from biomass is quite good as well. Wind and solar power plants combined with biomass power plants may eventually provide nuclear-shy California with the bulk of its home-grown electricity.



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