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Yet another pellet mill anounced for Maine

Post in 'The Green Room' started by MaineWoods, Nov 25, 2006.

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  1. MaineWoods

    MaineWoods New Member

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    That's good news - The paper here in W. Mass had a story yesterday about a local stove shop owner who is investing a million in a facility to store and bag pellets here. There are bringing them in by rail from British Columbia.

    I imagine the price of pellets will drop as more producers come on line. I would like to see them at 175-200 and $4 a bag.

    The rail cars from out west hold 100 tons, and at a guess of $3000 a rail car, including load and unload, that only adds $30 a ton.

    In the end it will probably be a low margin business (as it already is to many). I think it would be smart for these same plants to set up briquette/pressed log production - after all, same raw material and transport and expanded markets - seems like a no-brainer.
  3. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    Suppliers out here are already short on raw material. We have cut production 3 shifts down to 1 because of it.

    STAY AWAY!
  4. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Seems like up in these neck of the woods there is alot of pellets available now...was wondering if everybody is stockpiling or if there might even be a glut? Home despot has them, Aubochons, the local stove shop, farm and feed supply...
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't think they used Cedar for Pellets......

    Or are you talking about logs, etc?

    I agree that shipping bulk pellets across the country seems ridiculous - then again, the 2x4's on my shop say "Made in Servia" on them!
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think it will swings from one end to the other. It is strange that prices vary from 219 to 300.
  7. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I bet there's still a lot of 'proximity' pricing. That is, most people can only move maybe a ton at a time, so if you need 3-4 tons, you might just go the the nearest place rather than the place that 20 or 30/ton less on the other side of town.

    Of course, I'd be shopping onthe other side of town.

    Steve
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    One important factor driving the price of pellets is the availability (and thus price) of sawmill chips, which are the raw material for pellets. What with the steep decline in the housing market, mills are either shutting down or producing less lumber (and chips), creating shortages of chips.

    So I would expect prices to rise as chip availability declines.

    Just like NW Fuels says.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmm, interesting. I had thought that eastern mills were not usually in the regular commodity lumber business, and that western and canadian mills would just switch to overseas clients. Always good to have an insider on board!
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    There are plenty of mills in the Northeast that produce building materials like studs and softwood siding, but you have to remember that new houses use lots of other lumber products, including Northeastern hardwoods used for things like flooring, cabinetry, paneling, staircases, furniture, mouldings, etc. When housing slows down, the lumber business slows down, and that means a lot less residue. With less to go around, the competition gets intense, especially from the pulp and paper sector, which is probably the biggest consumer of sawmill residue.

    One way around this prediciment (for both pulpmills and pellet mills) is to buy roundwood, debark it and then make chips. But that's expensive, which is why they prefer to buy chips rather than roundwood.
  11. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Are there any plants that produce bio pellets from corn,
    grass or other bio products?
    Seems that would mean an unending supply of fuel at
    a lower cost .
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    No need to pelletize corn--it already comes pelletized.

    I know people are looking at various grasses, but they have to be grown and harvested just right, and nobody's doing that--yet.

    The beauty of wood fiber is that it's dense and easy to extrude into pellets.

    We actually do have an unending, low-cost supply of pellet stock--it's called standing timber. It's the process of converting it from a tree into pellets that drives up the cost. Same with any other potential pellet feedstock.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Western sawmills are already heavily into exporting, particularly into the Pacific Rim. It's a very competitive market--not like there's profitable market share laying around waiting to be picked up when the domestic economy takes a dive.
  14. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Actually I was speaking to corn, cobs, husks, and stalks the entire plant.
    Anyway corn alone burns poorly in most pellet stoves and needs mixing with wood pellets
    to bur properly.
    I was thinking it might burn better with with the dried stalk and husk to aid in combustion.
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Sorry homefire--I didn't mean to be dismissive of your idea. Everybody is looking at corn, including the wood pellet guys, who put a little bit into their wood pellet mix. I think the main focus should be on wood, since it's more abundant and cheaper, but that's just my own bias.
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