The wood pellet and wood chip industry is going to have to grow if regional companies that make and distribute the product are going to stay alive.
Pat Curran, owner of Curran Renewable Energy in Massena, was part of a panel discussing the forest products industry recently at the Adirondack Research Consortium.
Curran explained how he was in the paper business, but when the market for that started to decline, he started to look into the biomass (pellets, chips and other such wood products) market. He got $11 million in funding through the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency to build a 100,000-ton pellet plant.
Curran said he had one month of a strong market for his products, and then it dropped off. In 2010, there was demand for 11,000 tons of pellets, and in 2011, he had demand to produce 59,000 tons, both numbers well below the facility’s capacity. “Now we’re sitting with this huge investment with no place to sell our product,” Curran said.
He said his company has tried everything it can think of to build a domestic market, but the demand today is not large enough to keep the biomass production facilities in the region in business. He’s looked into shipping his product to Europe, where there is a larger demand for biomass, but with shipping costs it would not be worth it. He’s met others who are selling their biomass products in Europe at less than cost to move their inventory. “The North American market has to grow,” Curran said.
From The Adirondack Daily Enterprise: http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/530917/Pellet-plant-owner–Need-to-grow-the-industry.html?nav=5008Tags: Adirondack Research Consortium, biomass industry, biomass production facilities, Curran Renewable Energy, European biomass industry, Pat Curran, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, wood chip industry, wood pellet industry