Rentech Fuels Ready To Commission Ontario Wood Pellet Plant

The staff is in place, an intense series of training sessions are mostly complete, and the production facility is just about ready. Rentech Fuels Atikokan pellet plant will be commissioned for production within the month, said site manager Bill Carson on Friday. Contractors were still busy at the site, putting final touches on the bucket […]

The staff is in place, an intense series of training sessions are mostly complete, and the production facility is just about ready. Rentech Fuels Atikokan pellet plant will be commissioned for production within the month, said site manager Bill Carson on Friday. Contractors were still busy at the site, putting final touches on the bucket elevator and the heating system for the dryer, but the plant has already completed a successful test run.

The plant’s wood pellet transfer system has been busy since May – only operating in reverse. Rentech shipped in pellets by rail, then loaded them onto trucks for delivery to OPG’s Atikokan Generating Station, to meet its contracts with that company. That took a bit of creativity, because the plant is designed to load, rather than unload, rail cars.

All the pellets for the OPG biomass facility – about 45 thousand tons per year from Rentech – will  be delivered by truck. OPG determined that was the best way to set up its pellet handling facility. Rentech’s Atikokan and Wawa plants will also produce pellets for Drax, a U.K. power producer; those will be shipped by rail to Quebec City, and then by sea to the U.K. (Resolute will also provide 45,000 tons of pellets annually to OPG, from its new Thunder Bay plant.)

The heart of the operation here is three pellet presses that will take wood – reduced to sawdust size – and turn it into pellets. Each of the presses is designed to produce about four tons of pellets per hour, so the plant will have a capacity of 12 tons per hour, or about 100,000 tons per year.

The wood yard – which operation has been contracted to Rainy Lake Tribal Contracting – already has a broad mix of woods, in varying states, from sawdust to full size logs. The wood is debarked (the bark fuels the heating system for the sawdust drier), and then chipped and screened. Small particles go right into the pellet production line, while the larger pieces go to a couple of hammer mills that will reduce the wood to the appropriate size. Everything is then dried; Brad Sampson estimated the driers can produce up to 18 tons of dried wood per hour.

From the Atikokan Progress: http://atikokanprogress.ca/2014/08/11/rentech-ready-to-commission-atikokan-wood-pellet-plant/

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