Cost of Nippon Paper Industries’ biomass plant project rises about 20%

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The cost of the biomass cogeneration plant upgrade by Nippon Paper Industries USA has risen from $71 million to $85 million, a company official said.

Mill Manager Harold Norlund attributed the 20 percent increase to higher costs for a cooling tower; a redesign of the fuel silo for wood waste to be burned in the boiler; and a foundation redesign that was “a lot more complicated and time-consuming than we expected,” he said.

“It’s disappointing to be over budget,” Norlund said.

“It’s not what we wanted to do.

“We’re doing our best to control that as much as we can.”

Continuous construction began in June 2011 on the plant.

It will burn woody waste to create steam for the mill and 20 megawatts of electricity for which the mill could sell credits.

The plant remains on schedule for completion by mid-September, Norlund said.

It will replace an existing boiler that creates only steam for the mill.

On Monday, the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency announced approval of the construction application for the dual-cell, 5,500-gallon-a-minute cooling tower.

A condensing economizer was added to the project to increase the tower’s efficiency, Norlund said.

“We were not mandated to do that,” he said.

“It made sense from a water-flow perspective that we minimize the water we are putting in.”

Project opponents had wanted ORCAA to review the environmental impact of the combined emissions from the cooling tower and the biomass boiler, but ORCAA reviewed the two components separately.

Filtered water from the Elwha River will cool the plant’s turbine surface condenser.

The National Park Service is adding sodium hypochlorite — the active ingredient in bleach — to the industrial pipeline that leads to the Elwha Water Treatment Plant until the two Elwha River dams are completely removed by this summer as part of a $325 million river restoration project.

The fuel silo also was redesigned from a flat containment structure to a vertical structure after it was discovered the vertical structure fit better in the allotted space, Norlund said.

Project opponents have focused on air emissions and tiny, unregulated particulates, while the company has said its anti-pollution devices allow emissions to meet all state and federal regulations.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: March 21. 2013 6:52PM
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