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Tyler County Booster - Local News
Stories Added October 2010
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Proposed Bio-Mass facility closer to reality

Tyler County Booster

By C.D. Woodrome/Reporter

A new Bio-Mass electrical generation planned for Woodville has generated local controversy, but other such facilities around the country and state are already online, or will be soon. The first of several electrical generation units in East Texas is scheduled to be on line near Lufkin by January 1. So said Danny Vines, President of Angelina Fuels, at the quarterly meeting of the regional municipal league held in Lufkin. What makes these generating units unique is the dependence on a fuel that is abundant and renewable in East Texas. The debris of logging operations which until now has been either left behind to decompose or piled and burned will now become valuable for property owners with timber stands. A similar unit is planned for construction just south of Woodville. That is, if bids for the equipment and construction site receive approval from the directors of East Texas Electric Cooperative which will own and operate the facility. The directors are expected to make a decision on bids received by the end of November. The generator planned for Woodville will mirror the Lufkin generation unit as a 50 Megawatt unit. Vines said this is one way to revitalize the logging industry in East Texas. The result will be an increase in the number of jobs, along with a sizeable increase in the tax base for counties and school districts. Since the raw material is produced locally, and will need to be transported to the generation site, those jobs will never be outsourced to overseas locations. Local timber producers will benefit by having a steady demand for their product rather than at the whim of the global economy. For the Aspen Power Plant alone, 560,000 tons of logging debris and municipal wood waste will be used annually. A generation facility near Nacogdoches will have twice the generating capacity of the Lufkin and Woodville units. Vines responded to concerns that the process of burning wood debris will cause smoke emissions around the facility. He said the catalytic equipment required by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will result in 65 percent fewer emissions than a similar size coal burning unit, and the bio-mass combustion is 44 percent cleaner than natural gas. He also pointed out that neither coal nor natural gas is a renewable source of energy. Lonnie Grissom, head of North American Procurement in Woodville, which stands to benefit as a purchaser and supplier of wood materials locally and globally, said he anticipates no impact environmentally from the facility in Woodville. Questioned about water use of the facility which will be needed to generate steam, and cooling. Grissom said it is his understanding that a working agreement has been developed with the City of Woodville for water discharge from the cities wastewater treatment plant. The effluent will already have been processed to dards by the city. As planned the water will be pumped approximately two miles to the generation facility. Any excess from the generation facility will be returned to the cities normal outflow location. In his description of the generation operations, Vines said figures indicate on the hottest day, with the lowest humidity, the cooling tower for the Lufkin unit will evaporate 614,000 gallons of water. Grissom, for his part, said from his involvement with the project in Woodville, there is nothing that will be detrimental to the community.

Polk County Publishing Company