Poet to power Chancellor facility with wood waste

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy
Poet Biorefining-Chancellor, an ethanol production facility in Chancellor, S.D., is currently expanding its capacity from 50 MMgy to 100 MMgy. As part of the expansion, the company is installing a solid waste fuel boiler that will burn woodchips to produce enough steam for up to 60 percent of the expanded plant's power needs. Mueller Pallets LLC in Sioux Falls, S.D., will supply the 150 to 350 tons of woodchips that are estimated to be needed every day.

Mueller Pallets is a zero-waste company. It currently serves customers within a 350-mile radius by providing pallets, custom crates and pallet services, such as stocking supply, remanufacturing and recycling. It also provides recycled wood products for livestock bedding, landscape mulch and woodchip fuel. "Our services relieve city landfills, tree services and construction companies from the waste wood problem," said John Kirchner, sales and marketing director for Mueller Pallets. "Our process converts a former liability into an energy asset at less than a quarter of the cost of natural gas per [British thermal unit]."

Mueller Pallets can produce 18 to 20 tons of processed wood per hour. It will be responsible for collecting the wood waste and transporting the processed wood to the Poet facility. Kirchner said his company would deliver between seven and 13 semi loads of woodchips per day, five days per week. Processing and transportation of the woodchips make up a majority of the cost of the woodchips, he added.

The woodchips will be stored in two bins that can each hold a seven-day supply. A reclaiming system will pull them out of the silo and into the boiler, according to the ethanol plant's General Manager Rick Serie. The boiler is being constructed by Covington, La.-based Factory Sales & Engineering Inc. It will be 20 feet wide, 70 feet tall and 15 feet deep. At press time, Poet said it had finished pouring the concrete for the solid waste fuel boiler. The expansion is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2008.