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Testing continues on Nippon biomass plant

December 10th, 2013 - 5:33am

(Port Angeles) – Tests are underway this week for the new biomass plant at the Nippon Paper's mill on the Port Angeles waterfront.

Mill general manager Harold Norlund gave an update of the process to the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce Monday.

“We have to test the boiler to make sure it can perform as designed,” said Norlund. “But we also are testing the turbine generator to make sure it is also functioning. Right now we're ranging from 3 to 5 megawatts of electricity being generated as the steam from the boiler spins the turbine generator.”

But as with most new projects...not everything starts smoothly, and Norlund said a few minor glitches have taken place.

"Glitches can be as simple as tuning a control valve to controlling dampers so that the biomass is more effectively being fed into the boiler,” said Norlund. “But we haven't had any significant problems, it has gone very well.”

The process will be using partially wet wood products...will that be a problem as far is getting the most heat out of the fuel?

“The design of the boiler can take up to 57 percent moisture on the incoming wood. We don't think this will be an issue, we've been burning fuel like that in our old boiler and this one is much more efficient,” said Norlund.

The primary purpose of the co-generation project is to produce electricity for sale.

“The 20 megawatts we will produce will go on the open market for utilities that need electricity from renewable energies,” said Norlund. There's a trading basis for how you market electricity. You have to have available transmission to the customer, so it will go directly to the utilities that require base load renewable energy.”

The plant cost about 85 million dollars.

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