International WoodFuels to build pellet mill in Maine

By Lisa Gibson
Burnham, Maine, will be the home of an International WoodFuels wood pellet plant capable of producing 100,000 tons of pellets annually from locally sourced wood.

The plant is expected to be operational by next summer, according to Laura Sawall, at International WoodFuels. The $20 million plant is a partnership between WoodFuels and Maine & Co., a nonprofit business development team.

WoodFuels uses only whole logs for its pellets and is in discussions with local landowners and foresters to develop long-term contracts, Sawall said. The facility will provide 35 new jobs, displace about 12 million gallons of heating oil annually and eliminate 133,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the company.

The Community Energy Facility will be adjacent to Pride Sports, the world's largest manufacturer of wooden golf tees, allowing both to use the same source of wood fibers.

The site is in one of the state's permanently designated Pine Tree Development Zones, created by Gov. John Baldacci in 2004. The location will allow WoodFuels to take advantage of a number of state tax incentives created to promote growth in industries such as manufacturing and environmental technology.

WoodFuels produces pellets for its own customers and delivers them locally, resulting in an ultra-low carbon process. The company also has a pellet mill in the works in Virginia that will be operational by next summer with the same capacity as the plant in Maine, Sawall said. The facility used to be a wood chip mill and is being converted into a pellet mill.

-Lisa Gibson