Ameresco Biomass plant uses damaged wood from ice storm

Renewable energy company Ameresco has announced that its biomass cogeneration plant located in South Carolina, US is utilising storm-damaged timber as a result of the major ice storm which impacted the nation's southern region in February earlier this year.

The plant is located at the DoE's Savannah River site in Aiken and provides half the necessary steam to power the DoE facility.

'Using the storm debris not only benefits the region and community's critical clean-up initiatives but affords a positive environmental solution to keep the woody debris out of landfills and power the plant with renewable fuel,' says David Moody, manager of the Department of Energy's (DoE) Savannah River site, where the plant is located. 'Working together, the region has been able to turn the aftermath of what was a devastating storm for all of us into something positive.'

The company's biomass cogeneration facility began receiving damaged wood the week following the storm. Since the incident, almost 21,000 tonnes of storm-related fuel wood has been purchased for the biomass plant, which represents more than 55% of total purchases during the period. Ameresco says it expects to continue receiving damaged timber and woody debris from the region through the summer.

The plant has received storm wood from Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties in South Carolina, and Burke and Hancock counties in the state of Georgia. Ameresco estimates its power station will convert 30,000 tonnes of storm-damaged wood into renewable power this year.

'We have been working with local partners to utilise the storm damaged wood because it is a valuable, clean and usable resource of renewable fuel for our biomass cogeneration facility and it's the right thing to do,' comment Nicole Bulgarino, VP of federal solutions at Amersco.

Following the February storm, the South Carolina Forestry Commission reported that timber damage affected 24 counties across 1.5 million acres of forestland in the state.

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