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Demand for home-grown fuel spurs industry

Dallas Tonsager, Under Secretary for Rural Development (right), talks to George Soffron the president and CEO of Corith Wood Pellets company in February 2012.  Under Secretary Tonsager was visiting Maine to meet with pellet maufacturers in the state and to discuss issues that concern the industry and about the energy future of Maine.
Dallas Tonsager, Under Secretary for Rural Development (right), talks to George Soffron the president and CEO of Corith Wood Pellets company in February 2012. Under Secretary Tonsager was visiting Maine to meet with pellet maufacturers in the state and to discuss issues that concern the industry and about the energy future of Maine. Buy Photo
Posted Oct. 25, 2012, at 8:29 a.m.
Wood pellets are displacing fuel oil as a heat source in many Maine businesses and homes.
Wood pellets are displacing fuel oil as a heat source in many Maine businesses and homes.

A home-grown fuel is helping reduce Maine heating costs.

According to the Maine Pellet Fuels Association, purchasing Maine-made wood pellets is less expensive than buying heating oil and keeps more dollars working in the local economy.

“Pellets are nearing the tipping point in terms of consumer recognition and rate of adoption,” said George Soffron, CEO of Corinth Wood Pellets LLC. “Central heating systems designed to use wood pellets, in-home delivery of wood pellets pumped into a tank just like oil, and wood pellets as a primary heating source are about to transition from the ‘unusual’ to a common occurrence.”

There are currently four Maine companies manufacturing pellets, with plants located in Strong, Athens, Ashland, and Corinth. The four plants employ more than 80 people, not including loggers and truckers providing raw fiber for the wood-pellet industry.

Corinth Wood Pellets has been manufacturing pellets in Corinth since 2007. The company employs 17 people and has the capacity to produce 75,000 tons of pellets annually for industrial, commercial, and residential uses.

Pellets are 100-percent wood, with no additives, and are a blend of hardwood and softwood. The company’s pellets are quality-tested on site and are date- and time-stamped to assure that they are fresh, clean, and dry when customers receive them. Pellets are also triple screened to eliminate dust. Corinth Wood Pellets are sold on site, by delivery, and by retailers throughout the state. For more information, call (207) 285-7700 or visit www.corinthwoodpellets.com.

Northeast Pellets LLC, in Ashland, has been manufacturing premium wood pellets from 100-percent clean, bark-free mill residue since 2006, though production was temporarily halted following a fire in 2009.

After coming back online in May 2011, the plant employs 10 people and has the capacity to produce 40,000 tons annually. The company’s super premium (less than 0.5 percent ash) pellets are suitable for residential and commercial uses and can be purchased directly from the plant in 25 or 40-pound bags, one-ton sacks, or in loose bulk by the ton, and are also available for sale at multiple locations around the state.

For more information, call (207) 435-6230 or visit www.northeastpellets.net.

Maine Wood Pellet Company LLC is located on a 55-acres site in Athens developed in 2008 solely for wood-pellet production. No debris or additives are used during processing. Pellets are 100-percent wood and are suitable for residential and commercial use.

Because the company has a stable source of raw materials, which keeps prices stable as well, it is able to offer multi-year contract pricing to large-account customers. The plant employs 35 people and is able to produce up to 100,000 tons of pellets annually.

Pellets are sold directly to the public by the ton in 40-pound bags, with 50 bags per ton. Bulk pellets may also be purchased by the ton, and retailers may order 22-to-26-ton truckloads of bagged pellets. For more information, call (207) 654-2237 or visit www.mainewoodspelletco.com.

Geneva Wood Fuels in Strong employs 17 people and is able to produce more than 80,000 tons of pellets annually. The company, which has been producing wood pellets since 2009, only does business with logging companies that follow best practices that keep forests healthy.

Logs are processed by Geneva, giving the company complete control over the raw material production. The plant produces hardwood pellets for residential and commercial use. Pellets packaged for residential use are available at retailers throughout the Northeast; brands include Maine’s Choice and Geneva Wood Pellets. Wholesale bulk pellets can be ordered directly from the company. For more information, call (617) 934-6512 or visit www.genevapellets.com.

For more about Maine wood pellets, visit the Maine Pellet Fuels Association website at www.mepfa.org.

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