News | April 2012

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New Portland Event Picks Up The Pace

Organizers of the new Timber Processing & Energy Expo report that the event booth space is more than half sold out. TP&EE will be held October 17-19 at the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Ore.

“We’re still six months away,” comments Co-Chairman Rich Donnell, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wood Bioenergy magazine and Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. “The show is almost selling itself, which indicates to me that companies are anxious to experience a new venue in the Northwest.” Wood Bioenergy is affiliated with Hatton-Brown ­Expositions, which is the show producer.

The Portland Expo Center is conveniently located off Interstate 5 between downtown Portland and Vancouver, Washington. It’s only minutes from the Portland International Airport and has immediate access to the Max Light Rail.

TP&EE is scheduled for Hall D, which encompasses 72,000 sq. ft. and an abundance of outdoor space. The overall Exposition Center sits on 60 acres and includes five halls with 330,000 sq. ft. The facility hosts more than 100 events annually, attracting in excess of 500,000 attendees.

Exhibitors will cater to an attendee base of primary producers of lumber, veneer/plywood and engineered wood products as well as wood-to-energy producers.

Hatton-Brown Expositions is affiliated with Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., which publishes Wood Bioenergy, Timber Processing, Timber Harvesting and Southern Loggin’ Times, and is affiliated with Panel World magazine.

The company is no stranger to “show business.” It hosts two biennial conferences in Atlanta for the wood energy and panel production industries, and conducts in-woods logging expos in the South.

For information on exhibit space sales, contact Fred Kurpiel at 678-642-1238; e-mail Also visit

Viridis Completes Pellet Mill Purchase

ViridisEnergy Inc., Vancouver, BC, has completed the acquisition of certain assets of Enligna Canada Inc., a wood pellet mill operator located in Upper Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia. The assets were purchased from Enligna’s Receiver by Nova Scotia Ltd., a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Viridis.

The acquired assets include 20 buildings on four properties with a total of 157 acres and a separate 22 acre wood lot. The facilities house five pellet presses with the capacity to produce 110,000 metric tons of wood pellets annually, In addition, Enligna has an established reputation with customers in Europe and key relationships with raw material suppliers, according to the purchaser.

“We are acquiring a turnkey-ready operation with a skilled workforce on the East Coast of the continent where wood pellet use is high­est, not to mention the proximity to seaports for exporting to our European customer base,” says Christopher Robertson, Viridis CEO.

ITOCHU Invests With ZeaChem, Inc.

ZeaChem, which is constructing a commercial biomass-to-ethanol and chemicals plant in Boardman, Ore., having just recently started up a core demonstration facility there, has announced several developments since the first of the year.

  • ITOCHU Corp., an international trading company based in Tokyo, has acquired shares in ZeaChem Inc. The companies will work together to acquire partnerships in each region.
  • In early January ZeaChem started up its core biorefinery plant in Boardman. The company says the project started up on schedule and well under budget. The plant employs 25. The core facility produces the intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are high-value products for applications including paints, lacquers and solvents. ZeaChem will sell bio-based chemicals to commercial and industrial customers seeking renewable and cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-sourced chemicals.

ZeaChem is further developing its integrated biorefinery through implementation of a second project to add the capability of using cellulosic biomass on the front end and converting ethyl acetate into ethanol on the back end.

  • In late January ZeaChem reported it has been selected for a $232.5 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program. The conditional commitment enables the financing and construction of ZeaChem’s first commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery. The facility is expected to have capacity of 25 million or more gallons per year (GPY). It will be located at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, adjacent ZeaChem’s 250,000 GPY demonstration biorefinery.

ZeaChem reports it has agreements for 100% of the facility’s woody biomass feedstock from the nearby GreenWood Tree Farm Fund, managed by GreenWood Resources (GWR), as well as from local agricultural residue processors.

ZeaChem’s first commercial facility will create 65 full-time operations jobs.

  • In February ZeaChem reported it had successfully completed contract negotiations to receive its portion of a $40 million grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Regional Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP).

USDA Announces Restoration Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new report, Increasing the Pace of Restoration and Job Creation on our National Forests, that outlines a strategy and series of actions for management on 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. As part of the accelerated restoration strategy, $40 million for 20 forest and watershed restoration projects have been announced for the upcoming year.

The funding includes 10 new projects under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program, continued funding for the original 10 projects selected under the CFLR program in 2010, and an additional $4.6 million to support other high priority restoration projects.

This strategy and actions are designed to expand the number of forest acres treated by 20% over the next three years and increase the pace of active forest management, including fuels reduction, reforestation, stream restoration, road decommissioning, replacing and improving culverts, forest thinning and harvesting, prescribed fire and a range of other techniques.

Agencies Step Up For Wood Pellets

The Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) and the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) marked the first critical step in the roll-out of the new densified biomass fuel standard for North America through the accreditation of 10 auditing agencies and two laboratories to the PFI Standards Program.

Under the supervision of ALSC, the program’s accreditation body, accredited auditing agencies provide services for qualifying densified fuel production facilities to label compliant densified fuel as outlined by program requirements. Agencies will audit the fuel that is produced in accordance with the program’s parameters, which establish three grades of fuel— Premium, Standard, and Utility—that can be easily matched to the appropriate pellet-burning appliance.

The Board of Review of the ALSC has accredited the following agencies: Carolina Inspection Service, Inc.; Conway & Robison, LLC; Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn.; PFS Corp.; Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau; Package Research Laboratory; Southern Pine Inspection Bureau; Timber Products Inspection; West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau; Western Wood Products Assn.

The Board of Review of the ALSC also has accredited two laboratories: Timber Products Inspection and the University of Maine. Accredited testing laboratories perform analyses on densified fuel to the PFI standard.

Densified biomass producers can now begin the process of enrolling in the program. Information on enrollment is available on the PFI website and through contacting the accredited agencies.

ALSC will continue to accept applications from auditing agencies or laboratories interested in becoming accredited for the program. Contact ALSC at 301-972-1700. Visit

Ameresco, DOE Mark Bioenergy Startup

U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and Ameresco, Inc. held a ribbon cutting to mark the successful startup of the DOE’s new biomass cogeneration facility in Aiken, SC at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The event culminates a 30-month investment of more than 600,000 labor hours to safely construct the new 34 acre renewable energy facility at SRS, under the single largest renewable Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) in the nation’s history, according to Ameresco.

The plant replaces a deteriorating coal powerhouse and the oil-fired boilers at SRS, and has the capacity to combust 385,000 tons of forest residue annually into 20 MW of clean power.

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