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January 13, 2009

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Jonathan Edwards

Business Resources
Wood study stirs call for innovation

Coos County leaders look for creative uses of low-grade wood

By Elizabeth Penney

Friday, January 16, 2009



The Coos County Action Plan process brought together 100 county leaders to discuss the wood industry, energy, tourism, the creative economy and health care.

The action plan and the wood availability report are available online at www.nccouncil.org.

The Forest Service Forest Products Lab can be found at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.

The University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative at www.forestbioproducts.umaine.edu.

The timber availability study was funded by a Sudden and Severe Impact Grant from the Economic Development Administration.


A recent study of timber supply in Coos County has come up with a surprising conclusion: There may not be enough wood available in the region.

The study, prepared by Landvest as a project of the Coos County Economic Action Plan, focuses on the availability of low-grade wood in a 75-mile radius of Berlin.

The study stems from concern about future logging activity in the Northern Forest, which was spurred by the closure of Wausau Paper, Groveton Paperboard and the Nexfor Fraser pulp mill, all heavy consumers of low-grade pulp wood. Nexfor Fraser alone accounted for 1 million tons annually.

“We’re trying to replace our pulp and paper industry,” said Peter Riviere, project facilitator and executive director of Coos County Economic Council. “We needed to be informed by accurate data.”

A 50-year model incorporating present stock, growth rate, species, terrain constraints and land use and ownership estimated a baseline annual harvest of 4.6 million tons. That breaks down into 3.6 million tons of low-grade logs, tops and branches, and about 1.7 million tons of high-grade logs used for lumber, furniture and veneer.

Existing users — pulp mills and biomass power plants — absorb almost 2.9 million tons annually already, leaving an estimated 640,000 tons available. Proposed users, including a Berlin pellet mill not included in the report, could require 1.5 million tons. Therein lies the problem. Pulling wood from outside the 75-mile radius could prove too expensive and make projects economically unfeasible.

Other proposed users include power plants, a wood boiler at the Gorham paper mill and wood pellet plants in Whitefield as well as in Island Pond, Vt.

According to Alan McLain — a Berlin native and former paper mill worker who’s principal in Greenovia LLC, the company building the Berlin pellet mill — “to start, we’re going to use about 200,000 tons,” he said. “In the next phase, we’ll double that.”

McLain had the idea for a local pellet mill several years ago and was in the process of developing a business plan when he met Albrecht Von Sydow, a German native and owner of Woodstone USA LLC. Woodstone owns a plant in Holland, Mich., and is planning to build one in Moreau, N.Y., as well as Berlin. Slated to break ground in early 2009, the Berlin facility is expected to employ 30 to 35 workers.

McLain is also investigating large-scale wood boiler systems for industrial and commercial use.

Jeff Hayes, assistant director of North Country Council and co-facilitator of the Coos plan, said he sees the wood availability report as reinforcing the desirability of smaller-scale projects. The proposed Clean Power Plant, a 30-megawatt biomass plant to be located in Berlin, will require about 200,000 tons per year. An earlier proposed 100-megawatt plant in Groveton, pulled due to lack of transmission line capacity, would have required at least three times as much wood.

The Clean Power Plant is currently in the queue to go on the power grid behind Granite Reliable Power’s proposed Coos wind farm project.

Nevertheless, said Hayes, it’s important to consider “what’s the highest and best use of the resource.” Hayes aid that, while biomass plants absorb low-grade wood and could provide some local energy savings, value-added uses need to be considered. “We need to innovate,” he said. According to Hayes, there are only eight wood products manufacturing companies in Coos County, out of 33 in the state.

Riviere agreed with Hayes’s assessment. “It’s a finite resource,” he said. “The report took the hot air out of the balloon.”

Riviere is leading the charge on another task assigned a high priority in the plan: development of a tech transfer laboratory for wood product innovation. New products and processes developed by forest product laboratories in Madison, Wis., and at the University of Maine would be evaluated for commercialization potential.

Riviere and Katherine Eneguess, president of White Mountains Community College, are working on finding one or more graduate-level academic partners. Their vision is that graduate students will refine existing research and identify which products are commercially feasible. Typical research projects include engineered wood products, biorefining, adhesives and wood preservation techniques.

The tech transfer lab would then help match entrepreneurs with investors and bring the products to market. An incubator and business support also may be offered, along the lines of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon.

Riviere also said he hopes to work with the Northern Forest Center’s educational collaborative, a four-state regional approach to forest management and development.

“They’re looking at a higher efficiency use of the wood resource,” Riviere said.

Jonathan Edwards

Business Resources
Wood study stirs call for innovation

Coos County leaders look for creative uses of low-grade wood

By Elizabeth Penney

Friday, January 16, 2009



The Coos County Action Plan process brought together 100 county leaders to discuss the wood industry, energy, tourism, the creative economy and health care.

The action plan and the wood availability report are available online at www.nccouncil.org.

The Forest Service Forest Products Lab can be found at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.

The University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative at www.forestbioproducts.umaine.edu.

The timber availability study was funded by a Sudden and Severe Impact Grant from the Economic Development Administration.


A recent study of timber supply in Coos County has come up with a surprising conclusion: There may not be enough wood available in the region.

The study, prepared by Landvest as a project of the Coos County Economic Action Plan, focuses on the availability of low-grade wood in a 75-mile radius of Berlin.

The study stems from concern about future logging activity in the Northern Forest, which was spurred by the closure of Wausau Paper, Groveton Paperboard and the Nexfor Fraser pulp mill, all heavy consumers of low-grade pulp wood. Nexfor Fraser alone accounted for 1 million tons annually.

“We’re trying to replace our pulp and paper industry,” said Peter Riviere, project facilitator and executive director of Coos County Economic Council. “We needed to be informed by accurate data.”

A 50-year model incorporating present stock, growth rate, species, terrain constraints and land use and ownership estimated a baseline annual harvest of 4.6 million tons. That breaks down into 3.6 million tons of low-grade logs, tops and branches, and about 1.7 million tons of high-grade logs used for lumber, furniture and veneer.

Existing users — pulp mills and biomass power plants — absorb almost 2.9 million tons annually already, leaving an estimated 640,000 tons available. Proposed users, including a Berlin pellet mill not included in the report, could require 1.5 million tons. Therein lies the problem. Pulling wood from outside the 75-mile radius could prove too expensive and make projects economically unfeasible.

Other proposed users include power plants, a wood boiler at the Gorham paper mill and wood pellet plants in Whitefield as well as in Island Pond, Vt.

According to Alan McLain — a Berlin native and former paper mill worker who’s principal in Greenovia LLC, the company building the Berlin pellet mill — “to start, we’re going to use about 200,000 tons,” he said. “In the next phase, we’ll double that.”

McLain had the idea for a local pellet mill several years ago and was in the process of developing a business plan when he met Albrecht Von Sydow, a German native and owner of Woodstone USA LLC. Woodstone owns a plant in Holland, Mich., and is planning to build one in Moreau, N.Y., as well as Berlin. Slated to break ground in early 2009, the Berlin facility is expected to employ 30 to 35 workers.

McLain is also investigating large-scale wood boiler systems for industrial and commercial use.

Jeff Hayes, assistant director of North Country Council and co-facilitator of the Coos plan, said he sees the wood availability report as reinforcing the desirability of smaller-scale projects. The proposed Clean Power Plant, a 30-megawatt biomass plant to be located in Berlin, will require about 200,000 tons per year. An earlier proposed 100-megawatt plant in Groveton, pulled due to lack of transmission line capacity, would have required at least three times as much wood.

The Clean Power Plant is currently in the queue to go on the power grid behind Granite Reliable Power’s proposed Coos wind farm project.

Nevertheless, said Hayes, it’s important to consider “what’s the highest and best use of the resource.” Hayes aid that, while biomass plants absorb low-grade wood and could provide some local energy savings, value-added uses need to be considered. “We need to innovate,” he said. According to Hayes, there are only eight wood products manufacturing companies in Coos County, out of 33 in the state.

Riviere agreed with Hayes’s assessment. “It’s a finite resource,” he said. “The report took the hot air out of the balloon.”

Riviere is leading the charge on another task assigned a high priority in the plan: development of a tech transfer laboratory for wood product innovation. New products and processes developed by forest product laboratories in Madison, Wis., and at the University of Maine would be evaluated for commercialization potential.

Riviere and Katherine Eneguess, president of White Mountains Community College, are working on finding one or more graduate-level academic partners. Their vision is that graduate students will refine existing research and identify which products are commercially feasible. Typical research projects include engineered wood products, biorefining, adhesives and wood preservation techniques.

The tech transfer lab would then help match entrepreneurs with investors and bring the products to market. An incubator and business support also may be offered, along the lines of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon.

Riviere also said he hopes to work with the Northern Forest Center’s educational collaborative, a four-state regional approach to forest management and development.

“They’re looking at a higher efficiency use of the wood resource,” Riviere said.

Jonathan Edwards

Business Resources
Wood study stirs call for innovation

Coos County leaders look for creative uses of low-grade wood

By Elizabeth Penney

Friday, January 16, 2009



The Coos County Action Plan process brought together 100 county leaders to discuss the wood industry, energy, tourism, the creative economy and health care.

The action plan and the wood availability report are available online at www.nccouncil.org.

The Forest Service Forest Products Lab can be found at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.

The University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative at www.forestbioproducts.umaine.edu.

The timber availability study was funded by a Sudden and Severe Impact Grant from the Economic Development Administration.


A recent study of timber supply in Coos County has come up with a surprising conclusion: There may not be enough wood available in the region.

The study, prepared by Landvest as a project of the Coos County Economic Action Plan, focuses on the availability of low-grade wood in a 75-mile radius of Berlin.

The study stems from concern about future logging activity in the Northern Forest, which was spurred by the closure of Wausau Paper, Groveton Paperboard and the Nexfor Fraser pulp mill, all heavy consumers of low-grade pulp wood. Nexfor Fraser alone accounted for 1 million tons annually.

“We’re trying to replace our pulp and paper industry,” said Peter Riviere, project facilitator and executive director of Coos County Economic Council. “We needed to be informed by accurate data.”

A 50-year model incorporating present stock, growth rate, species, terrain constraints and land use and ownership estimated a baseline annual harvest of 4.6 million tons. That breaks down into 3.6 million tons of low-grade logs, tops and branches, and about 1.7 million tons of high-grade logs used for lumber, furniture and veneer.

Existing users — pulp mills and biomass power plants — absorb almost 2.9 million tons annually already, leaving an estimated 640,000 tons available. Proposed users, including a Berlin pellet mill not included in the report, could require 1.5 million tons. Therein lies the problem. Pulling wood from outside the 75-mile radius could prove too expensive and make projects economically unfeasible.

Other proposed users include power plants, a wood boiler at the Gorham paper mill and wood pellet plants in Whitefield as well as in Island Pond, Vt.

According to Alan McLain — a Berlin native and former paper mill worker who’s principal in Greenovia LLC, the company building the Berlin pellet mill — “to start, we’re going to use about 200,000 tons,” he said. “In the next phase, we’ll double that.”

McLain had the idea for a local pellet mill several years ago and was in the process of developing a business plan when he met Albrecht Von Sydow, a German native and owner of Woodstone USA LLC. Woodstone owns a plant in Holland, Mich., and is planning to build one in Moreau, N.Y., as well as Berlin. Slated to break ground in early 2009, the Berlin facility is expected to employ 30 to 35 workers.

McLain is also investigating large-scale wood boiler systems for industrial and commercial use.

Jeff Hayes, assistant director of North Country Council and co-facilitator of the Coos plan, said he sees the wood availability report as reinforcing the desirability of smaller-scale projects. The proposed Clean Power Plant, a 30-megawatt biomass plant to be located in Berlin, will require about 200,000 tons per year. An earlier proposed 100-megawatt plant in Groveton, pulled due to lack of transmission line capacity, would have required at least three times as much wood.

The Clean Power Plant is currently in the queue to go on the power grid behind Granite Reliable Power’s proposed Coos wind farm project.

Nevertheless, said Hayes, it’s important to consider “what’s the highest and best use of the resource.” Hayes aid that, while biomass plants absorb low-grade wood and could provide some local energy savings, value-added uses need to be considered. “We need to innovate,” he said. According to Hayes, there are only eight wood products manufacturing companies in Coos County, out of 33 in the state.

Riviere agreed with Hayes’s assessment. “It’s a finite resource,” he said. “The report took the hot air out of the balloon.”

Riviere is leading the charge on another task assigned a high priority in the plan: development of a tech transfer laboratory for wood product innovation. New products and processes developed by forest product laboratories in Madison, Wis., and at the University of Maine would be evaluated for commercialization potential.

Riviere and Katherine Eneguess, president of White Mountains Community College, are working on finding one or more graduate-level academic partners. Their vision is that graduate students will refine existing research and identify which products are commercially feasible. Typical research projects include engineered wood products, biorefining, adhesives and wood preservation techniques.

The tech transfer lab would then help match entrepreneurs with investors and bring the products to market. An incubator and business support also may be offered, along the lines of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon.

Riviere also said he hopes to work with the Northern Forest Center’s educational collaborative, a four-state regional approach to forest management and development.

“They’re looking at a higher efficiency use of the wood resource,” Riviere said.

marianne oconnor

I agree that "where you wake up" can have a big effect on your view of life — my favorite place to wake up is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It's a zen place and just being there makes me happy. (In fact, just writing about it here makes me smile.) :)

I also believe that "how" you wake up has a big effect on your feelings about life. Waking up well rested because sunshine is peeking through the bedroom window puts a very different slant on the day (and life) than doing a forced-march to the shower in the dark when you're totally exhausted.

So, do I love the life I've made? Indeed I do. There are people out there who are taller, richer and thinner than me, but as far as I'm concerned, I have it all. And contentment feels good...at any age.

Melissa

I used to live in Littleton and now live in the flatlands and I totally miss it. I used to go into Dunkin Donuts before work and they saw me coming, and had my coffee ready for me. I totally miss that and the scenery.

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