All of our customers have been able to utilize our fuel with no, or only minor, modifications to their fuel feed and combustion systems.

Fuel Pellets from Renewable Sources

Scott Whitney | Greenwood Energy

Please tell us a bit about Greenwood Energy and how the company fits into the Renewable Energy market? 

Greenwood Energy’s businesses include an independent power producer using combined heat & power (CHP), solar and other clean energy technologies, a solar (photovoltaic) construction company (Greenwood – Biosar) and a renewable fuels manufacturing company (Greenwood Renewable Fuels).  Greenwood Energy’s parent company, Libra Group, operates in the US and internationally in five business sectors including ship leasing, aircraft leasing, hotels, high density residential real estate and energy.

What are your fuel pellets made of and how do they replicate the energy, storage and handling characteristics of coal but burn much cleaner? 

The feedstock for Greenwood Fuel pellets is non-recyclable, pre-consumer paper, cardboard and low-chlorine plastic.  The energy content of our pellets is roughly equivalent to that of bituminous coal on a BTU/lb basis (10,500 to 12,000 BTU/lb).  Our pellets can be handled and transported like coal and, because they are largely water resistant, they can be stored outside for several weeks or more without any significant physical degradation.  Greenwood Fuel pellets are very low in sulfur and mercury, two pollutants that are of particular concern to our coal burning customers.  Our pellets’ chlorine content is similar to that of eastern US coal.

Can you describe some of the processes used to make the pellets and how they are produced? 

We currently produce Greenwood Fuel pellets at our manufacturing facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Feedstock is unloaded in our receiving hall where it is inspected and inventoried.  Our facility operators blend, shred and process the various feedstock materials in the appropriate proportions to facilitate pelletization and to meet our strict quality requirements.

How can Greenwood Fuels help boiler operators reduce their emissions to meet upcoming MACT standards without incurring capital expenditures? 

All of our current customers operate coal fueled boilers and use our pellets to replace some or all of their coal consumption.  Under the new MACT regulations, the primary emissions of concern for coal fueled boilers are sulfur, mercury and chlorine.  Because our pellets are extremely low in sulfur and mercury content, our customers can generally meet the new MACT standards for those two constituents by utilizing our fuel in whole or in part.  In some cases, our customers may need to add acid gas (SO2 and HCl) scrubbing equipment to meet the new MACT chlorine standards, but because there will be little or no sulfur dioxide for this equipment to remove, they will be able to install much smaller equipment to remove just hydrogen chloride than would otherwise be necessary.  So they will save a significant amount of up-front capital expenditure and will also realize significant operational savings due to the need for less water, power and reagent to operate their scrubbers.

How does the cost of the pellets compare with coal and natural gas? 

For customers within a 3 to 4 hour truck drive of Green Bay, the delivered price of our pellets is competitive with the current delivered cost of coal and natural gas.

Are extensive modifications to equipment required to convert a boiler to pellet fuel?

All of our customers have been able to utilize our fuel with no, or only minor, modifications to their fuel feed and combustion systems.

Which industries and sectors are your primary customers and how do you see business expanding in the future?

Our current customers are paper and packaging manufacturing companies, municipal utilities and universities that combust coal to heat and power their campuses. 

We think the recent promulgation of the new MACT requirements for industrial boilers will provide a significant catalyst for our renewable fuel business.  We expect to expand our fuel pellet manufacturing operations to several additional locations in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast US in the coming months to serve customers within those regions.

 Our fuel manufacturing facilities are attractive to state agencies and local communities because we provide an economical, sustainable (landfill free) outlet for non-recyclable by-products produced by local businesses, preserving local jobs and economic development.  We create local jobs in our pellet manufacturing facilities; and we provide an economical, environmentally sustainable fuel source for local industries, allowing them to remain competitive and to continue to employ local workers.

 

Scott Whitney

Scott Whitney is the Chief Executive Officer of Greenwood Energy’s renewable fuel division.  He is responsible for growing Greenwood’s diverse fuel customer base, developing additional renewable fuel manufacturing facilities and managing the overall performance of the division.

Prior to joining Greenwood Energy, Scott worked with Covanta Energy for over 25 years.  He was most recently President of Covanta Holding Corporation’s European group.  Prior to leading the European group, he oversaw the development of various Covanta businesses in North America, South America, Europe and Middle East.  Scott is a frequent speaker at various industry events for organizations such as Forbes Magazine, UK Trade & Investment, the Irish American Business Association and the US Department of Commerce.

Scott holds a BS in Marine Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer in the United States Navy.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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