Indeck Ladysmith Biofuel Center receives air permit

By Timothy Charles Holmseth
Web exclusive posted July 30, 2008 at 5:07 p.m. CST

Indeck Energy Services Inc. and Midwest Forest Products Company have announced that Indeck Ladysmith Biofuel Center, located in Ladysmith, Wis., has received its air permit from the state of Wisconsin. The company received the permit on June 17 and the plant is expected to be in operation by July 1, 2009.

The process of obtaining the permit was smooth, said Jim Thompson, vice president project management for Indeck Energy Services. "It took about 5 months," he said. The company will obtain its biomass "from the forest products companies in the region; mostly sawdust and shavings with some round wood chipping."

Thompson said the wood pellets come in residential and industrial grade, receiving their rating based on their ash content. "We will make a low ash residential product (less than 1 percent ash) as well as an industrial-grade product (up to 3 percent ash)," he said. "At present it looks as though we will sell more residential pellets."

There are international and American markets for wood pellets, Thompson said, adding that the company will be tapping into both. "Europeans use far more pellets than do Americans as they can take advantage of a larger carbon credit, however pellet use in America is picking up," he said.

The cost and availability of pellets in the U.S. is expected to be approximately $5 for a 40 pound bag, which could be purchased at rural hardware and farm stores for people using oil or propane for heating fuel. Pellet stoves are available for purchase in the U.S.

According to Indeck Energy Services, a typical pellet mill can produce 70,000 tons of pellets annually – enough to supply one 250-megawatt generating plant with 5 percent of its fuel as co-fired biomass. A 70,000 ton per year wood pellet mill will provide 12 to 17 high paying full-time permanent jobs with a projected payroll of about $1 million per year. These are long-term positions that can never be outsourced, the company said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-August. Wisconsin-based Energy Unlimited, based in Dodgeville, Wis., and Cavadeas Engineering, based in Hayward, Wis., will cooperate in the construction and engineering of the facility.