Biomass Combined Heat and Power project in Neopit

Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) actively manages more than 219,000 acres of forested tribal lands, and operates a sawmill and lumber drying operation located in Neopit, Wisconsin. MTE installed a Biomass Combined Heat and Power District Energy project at the sawmill in the spring of 2016. The energy system provides heat for kilns, mill processing space (~150,000 sq ft,), and the office space. The project was implemented to replace aging boiler equipment, improve local air quality, reduce operating costs, and increase sales of mill residuals.

The system includes:

  • a new advanced biomass combustion unit and steam boiler rated at 8.6 mmBTU/hr (Million British Thermal Unit per hour)
  • a new combustion control system for an existing 25 mmBTU/hr boiler
  • a 190 KW (Kilowatt) back pressure steam turbine
  • a new steam infrastructure (deaerator, feedwater pumps, controls, steam metering, etc.)
  • a new hot water district heating for a new sawmill building
  • an interconnection to the existing steam district heating system

The project provides an annual savings of over $500,000 through increased residual sales of more than 11,000 tons a year, operating cost savings, and electric generated and used on site. The $3.8 million project was funded by a combination of the MTE capital fund, loans and grants including: US Forest Service Biomass Utilization grant, USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant, US Department of Energy Tribal Energy grant, Bureau of Indian Affairs Energy and Mineral Development grant, and Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive program. $2.1 million of the project cost was covered by MTE capital fund and Indian Land Capital Company financing.  Fuel used in the old system was 20,000 tons a year wood residue before project installation, which has been reduced to 8,500 tons a year after the project completion.

Similar projects could be beneficial to other wood manufacturing facilities throughout Wisconsin. If you are interested in exploring what’s possible or feasible for your facility, please ask Wisconsin’s Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) for assistance. SWET is a public and private partnership that aims to expand markets that convert woody biomass into energy, advance installation of commercially viable wood energy systems in public and private facilities, and support wildfire mitigation, forest restoration, urban wood utilization and other forest management goals that utilize Wisconsin woody biomass. The team has a goal to implement 20-30 small scale wood energy projects and four large scale and/or cluster projects in the near future. The feasibility analysis for your facility is free of charge. For more information please visit the SWET website or contact Sabina Dhungana, sabina.dhungana@wisconsin.gov or (608) 261-0754.

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