1 Apr 2010, 3:19pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Freres’ Veneer mill and 10 MW CHP plant

by Liz Hamilton, Smallwood-News, 3/24/2010 [here]

With a group of foresters from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, I visited Freres Lumber Company veneer mill in Lyons, Oregon to see their 10 MW CHP generation plant in action. Kyle Frere, Vice President of Freres, lumber took us on a tour of the mill and CHP plant. Freres Lumber company is a family business which operates two veneer mills, a veneer drying plant and a plywood plant and employs over 420 people.

The main incentive for installing the CHP plant was the rising cost of natural gas that they need to fuel the veneer drying equipment. On average Freres used to spend around $1.5 million/yr in gas (2 million therms per year). At current gas prices biomass is about break even for them with gas. However, when natural gas prices rose to over $1.20/therm, as it did in 2008, the cost to Freres skyrocketed to over $2 million for the year.

The project cost around $24 million to install and it is expected that the pay back period will be between 5-7 years. The other aspect of using bioenergy that really appeals to Kyle is the extra jobs that they have created from the harvesting, processing and transport of the biomass. As well as utilizing their own mill residues to power the CHP plant, Freres also purchases about 60% of their biomass from a range of sources such as thinning from hazardous fuels reduction or from ground hog fuel from municipal green waste. 

Over summer, the mill buys in around 1016 truckloads/ day, each carrying 28 ton loads of green hog fuel. Over winter, when fuels are wet, their requirement increases to around 16 loads in addition to the mill residue they generate. Currently, a load of biomass costs about $400, however prices regularly fluctuate, and have been as much as $1,000/load.The total costs for biomass that Freres’ has to purchase from outside suppliers is around $1,000,000/yr. They also have a pulp log pile which, due to low prices for pulp and paper, is currently being converted into hog fuel and used in the boiler. … [more]

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