Business Briefs

People, Products & Partnerships
By Biomass Magazine Staff | February 06, 2021

Port of Tyne invests $1.2 million in wood pellet handling
The Port of Tyne, one of the U.K.’s leading deep-sea ports and a major employer in the region, on Nov. 5 announced a $1.2 million investment in its wood pellet-handling operations. State-of-the-art equipment will be installed and a range of measures put in place to help combat dust emissions from the dry wood pellets it handles. The improvements at Port of Tyne include: DustBosses, which create a continuous water mist spray to prevent dust particles flying into the air; pyramid covers, which enclose the top sections on the eight cargo grabs; skirting on hoppers, which increase airflow and reduce dust emission; and a microfogging system at strategic points within the warehouse and on the ventilation units, making dust fall to the floor.
In 2021, the port will also be the only one in the U.K. to have a high-tech water spraying system, which will be installed at the end of the quay.

American Wood Fibers buys former Nature’s Earth Pellets plant
American Wood Fibers Inc. has selected Scotland County, North Carolina, for a new manufacturing site and will create 51 jobs.  The company will invest $19.5 million to add new capabilities to a facility previously operated by Nature’s Earth Pellets in Laurinburg.
AWF owns and operates 10 production facilities across the U.S., processing over one billion pounds of wood byproducts into animal bedding, pet litter, wood pellets and wood fibers.  In Laurinburg, the company will produce wood pellets for fuel, bedding and barbeque markets, installing new equipment to improve the safety, pollution control and overall capacity of the plant.  A performance-based grant of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate AWF’s expansion in Scotland County.

Pinnacle begins production at High Level mill
Pinnacle Renewable Energy announced on Dec. 8 it has commenced initial pellet production at its newly constructed facility in High Level, Alberta, which is owned 50% by Pinnacle and 50% by Tolko Industries Ltd. through a limited partnership.
The High Level mill further diversifies Pinnacle's supply base using high-quality wood fiber sourced primarily from Tolko's sawmill in High Level. The mill has a projected run-rate capacity of 200,000 metric tons per year. Production will be sold through Pinnacle's contracted backlog of long-term, take-or-pay off-take contracts. Pinnacle is gradually ramping up production at the mill and expects to reach full production in 2021.

Anaergia begins construction of California RNG project
Anaergia Services LLC and veteran impact investing firm North Sky Capital LLC announced the start of construction of a renewable natural gas (RNG) facility at the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, located in San Bernardino County, California. The project will utilize Anaergia’s Omnivore high-solids anaerobic digestion retrofit to triple capacity and increase redundancy of the existing digester infrastructure. Sludge and food waste will be digested to generate biogas that will be conditioned and upgraded into pipeline-quality RNG, utilizing systems designed and supplied by Anaergia affiliates. Anaergia will operate the gas upgrading facility.

Brightmark breaks ground on Sobek RNG project in Florida
Brightmark, a global waste solutions provider, broke ground on the Sobek renewable natural gas (RNG) project on Nov. 13. The project includes construction of new anaerobic digesters at two Larson family dairy farms in Okeechobee County, Florida, owned by Larson Dairy Inc. and JM Larson Inc.

Upon completion of the project, the digesters are anticipated to generate about 171,000 MMBtu of RNG annually. The gas will be delivered into the TECO People Gas pipeline system. The project is part of the recently announced joint venture, Brightmark RNG Holdings LLC, a Brightmark platform in partnership with Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

Brightmark developed the project, and through the joint venture with Chevron, will own and operate it when construction is complete in 2021.

CPS Energy, VIA announce RNG partnership
CPS Energy and the VIA Metropolitan Transit serving San Antonio, Texas, and surrounding municipalities announced a new fuel supply partnership that will provide renewable natural gas to VIA’s fleet of over 500 buses, beginning in 2021. The announcement highlights CPS Energy’s partnership with the region’s mobility provider to supply renewable fuel for use in its compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet. VIA has a diversified active fleet portfolio consisting of 502 buses powered primarily by CNG fuel, with some diesel-electric hybrid, electric, diesel and propane vehicles in use.

Highland closes capital partnership with Orion Energy
Highland Pellets LLC has announced a $135 million strategic capital partnership with Orion Energy Partners L.P. to fund the expansion and upgrade of its existing wood pellet facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as well as provide capital for additional long-term growth initiatives. The facility is supported by a long-term contract with a major European power producer and will be capable of producing up to 675,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year when complete.
The Highland facility was initially completed in 2017 and is currently undergoing equipment upgrades to improve operational performance and increase production capacity.

Drax to sell gas assets, use proceeds on biomass initiatives
Drax Group plc reported on Dec. 15 that it has reached an agreement to sell its natural gas-fueled power generation assets. The company said it will use the proceeds from the sale to develop its biomass supply chain and support its plans to become carbon negative by 2030 with a focus on biomass carbon capture and storage (BECCS). CEO Will Gardiner said by using BECCS at the power station in North Yorkshire to underpin the decarbonization of the wider Humber region, Drax believes it would create and support around 50,000 new jobs.