Business Briefs

By Anna Simet | October 02, 2018

Froling Energy joins BTEC
On August 10, Froling Energy, a Peterborough, New Hampshire-based company specializing in biomass boiler systems installations, joined the Biomass Thermal Energy Council.

Froling joins the organization at a critical time for the industry, according to BTEC, which is working to expand and improve the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program in the Farm Bill. Froling has extended its support to BTEC to improve the CWEIP and has signed onto a coalition of BTEC members pushing for expansion of the program in the upcoming negotiations between House and Senate conferees.

Pinnacle to enter U.S. pellet market
Canadian pellet manufacturer Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a 70 percent interest in an operating industrial wood pellet production facility located in Aliceville, Alabama, from The Westervelt Co. Westervelt will retain a 30 percent interest in the Aliceville facility.

The plant has an annual production capacity of approximately 270,000 metric tons of industrial wood pellets. Approximately 210,000 metric tons per annum is committed under a long-term offtake contract to a major European utility.

As part of the transaction, and consistent with Pinnacle's operating strategy, the Aliceville facility has now entered into long-term wood fiber supply contracts for residuals with several large local sawmills. Westervelt's sawmill, located in Moundville, Alabama, will remain an anchor supplier, ensuring strong alignment between Pinnacle and Westervelt.

The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in early October.

Drax completes headquarters transition 
Drax Biomass Inc. has completed its headquarters move from Atlanta to Monroe, Louisiana. Initiating the process earlier this year, the company has been building its new corporate staff, which is now located on Tower Drive in Monroe.

“From an operational standpoint, we are well positioned to manage our three compressed wood pellet plants and the port operations in Baton Rouge from our new headquarters in Monroe,” said Greg Martin, Drax Biomass chief operating officer. “We’ve been really pleased with the caliber of talent and experience we’ve been able to retain and hire.”

Drax Biomass employs about 65 people in Mississippi and 190 in Louisiana, about 20 of whom are now located in the Monroe office.

Siemens contracts with Drax
Drax Power, which operates the biggest power station in the UK, has signed a new £40 million contract with Siemens for the upgrade of turbines on three of its biomass units over the next three years. The upgrades will deliver efficiencies, as well as maintenance savings, which will cut the cost of biomass electricity production at the plant in North Yorkshire.

The work will start in 2019 and take three years to complete, with one biomass unit being upgraded each year as part of its planned major overhaul. The efficiencies will be gained by fitting new, high-tech pipework and valves, with new, high-efficiency blading and long-life seals within the turbines on biomass units 1, 2 and 3.