At Your Service

While navigating permitting processes and meeting regulatory and emission requirements can be difficult and daunting, it’s evident that the expertise—and experience—needed to position producers for long-term success is out there, and eager to assist.
By Anna Simet | September 30, 2019

We’ve all heard the aphorism that pellet product is an art. What I haven’t heard so much but found to be true is that facility problem-solving is, too.

As time goes on, it is becoming more and more evident that cookie-cutter approaches to pellet facilities just don’t work. Not only because every particular location is different—the site in general, climate, fiber characteristics, etc.—but also because regulations vary, particularly when it comes to air permits. Oftentimes, when a plant is experiencing a major issue with a particular piece of equipment, it’s a recurring problem that results in down time and lost money, leaving the producer wondering if it’s an issue they’re permanently stuck with. Most of the time, it requires a customized solution.

Enter companies like Nestec Inc. and Oxidizers Inc., companies I chatted with about their background and experience. There were many common threads in the conversations, one being that the people on their teams have worked with wood-using companies for decades and witnessed  firsthand the evolution of facility design and technology. That includes what works and what doesn’t, the sensitivities around each project variation, and the list goes on. Their passion for helping pellet producers permanently fix problems—and of course, prevent them, if involved early on—is evident. In our page-12 spotlight feature, “Expertise via Experience,” we dig a little into the emission issues that seems to be surfacing at some of our U.S. facilities, and how these companies can help.

On this topic, we are pleased to include our page-24 contribution, “Strategically Navigating Air Permitting Challenges,” by ALL4 LLC’s Chuck Doyno. In the piece, Doyno discusses avoiding PSD permitting, stressing the importance of positioning facilities for the future early on. Writes Doyno, “Give your facility more operational freedom and lessen the chance that you will need to revisit air permitting in a few years to alter your production limitation…there is an argument to be made that a strategic air permitting approach may compress the length of time it takes to get an air permit and potentially provide an economic advantage with future facility growth.”

The final story I’ll mention is Senior Editor Ron Kotrba’s page-18 feature, “Loading Up and—Waitin’?” As thorough as Kotrba is, I’ll summarize in a nutshell—some truck drivers are finding themselves completing fewer runs due to mandatory downtime required by newer federal regulations, meticulously tracked by electronic logging devices. As fiber hauling is a big part of the pellet production process, there have been some implications, and resulting frustration, to manufacturers either not able to get their fiber when they need it, or having to shell out more money to compete for trucks.

While navigating permitting processes and meeting regulatory and emission requirements can be difficult and daunting, it’s evident that the expertise—and experience—needed to position producers for long-term success is out there, and eager to assist.

Author: Anna Simet
Editor
asimet@bbiinternational.com