U.S. man sees plenty of wood pellet potential: Shelburne10/5/2012
An entrepreneur in Georgia wants to open a wood pellet manufacturing plant in Shelburne.
Peter Lane and his team of business partners are eyeing a 16-hectare site next to Shelburne Harbour currently being transferred from Nova Scotia Power Inc. to the Municipality of Shelburne.
He said once the wood pellet operation is up and running he hopes to expand the facility to include onshore fish farming, hydroponics, carbon dioxide capture and algae production.
“The Shelburne project will be a multi-revenue stream operation,” Lane said in an interview from Waynesville, Ga., where he is the vice-president of project development for Georgia Biofuels LLC.
He said there is sufficient feedstock in southwestern Nova Scotia for wood chips for the plant.
Lane said the only byproduct from heating wood chips to make pellets is a gas that is burned, releasing carbon dioxide.
He said he plans to eventually capture the carbon dioxide for algae production to be used for hydroponics, a method of growing plants such as lettuce, tomatoes and peppers using mineral nutrient solutions in water without any soil.
The waste from the hydroponics would then be used as fish food, and the fish waste can be used as nutrients for the hydroponics.
“It all goes around in a neat circle,” Lane said, noting that the project ticks all the boxes in terms of environmental sustainability and ensures a diversified revenue stream for long-term secure jobs.
The wood pellets would be exported to Europe, Lane said, shipping directly from Shelburne’s deep-sea harbour.
Lane said the plant design would be similar to a pellet facility he recently helped launch in Georgia.
“I’d like to have a shovel in the ground by February. If we can get the land, I can get the financing in place and get this up and running quickly.”
Lane noted that pellet plants are modular and relatively easy to set up quickly.
“It’s not like you have to build a factory. They are built elsewhere and shipped in. They allow 45 days for the setup and commissioning of the plant.”
He said the fish farm is a simple structure that could be up and running in two to three months. Lane said he is interested in growing salmon, trout and shrimp in on-land tanks.
He said the pellet plant would need about 45 workers, with another 150 indirect workers harvesting wood. The fish farm would need about 30 people and the hydroponics operation would require about a dozen workers.
(The Chronicle Herald)