Paper plant to use biomass

PORT ANGELES - Nippon Paper Industries USA plans to build a $71 million cogeneration plant at its Port Angeles mill that will use forest biomass.

The project would produce 20 megawatts of energy that would be sold to power companies, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

Port Angeles mill manager Harold Norlund said the project will create more than 20 new jobs and use forest residue that would otherwise be left in the woods or burned in slash piles.

The biomass fuel would come from local timber operations throughout the North Olympic Peninsula.

“The cogeneration of steam and electricity from this project will take our business to a new and more sustainable level and allow us to continue to improve our paper making business,” Norlund said in a statement Friday.

The mill, which has nearly 200 employees, makes paper used for telephone books, other custom paper and newsprint. It currently uses steam from an electric boiler, two oil-fired boilers and a large biomass boiler.

The proposed project includes a new steam boiler and a turbine generator, and several buildings.

The new equipment would be capable of being powered by 100 percent biomass. It would produce more steam than the previous one, and could supply a 20-megawatt turbine generator and the paper mill.

Construction is expected to begin later this year, after environmental studies are completed and local and state permits are approved.

Norlund said the new boilers would result in an overall reduction of pollutants from the company’s paper-making process, including significant decline in carbon monoxide, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. Though he added that emissions of two pollutants would increase slightly.

Norlund said the company hopes to apply for federal money in the future.

The state Department of Natural Resources picked Nippon as one of four partners to use forest biomass from state lands for green energy projects.

The Port Angeles mill has been around since 1920. Nippon acquired the mill from Daishowa America.