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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • City hears biomass facility pitch

  • SR20 Holdings CEO Mike Clemmons made a presentation to city officials in Greensburg last Thursday, sharing its plan to construct a biomass plant that would convert salvaged and harvested trees into fuel.
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  • SR20 Holdings CEO Mike Clemmons made a presentation to city officials in Greensburg last Thursday, sharing its plan to construct a biomass plant that would convert salvaged and harvested trees into fuel.
    Clemmons spoke for nearly an hour about SR20, its associated companies and its planned projects including the biomass plant and its Scrap Rubber to Oil plant.
    All members of the city council were present except Councilman Matt Christenson.
    City Administrator Ed Truelove and Mayor Bob Dixson were present as well as representatives from the Kansas Dept. of Commerce and the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
    Wes Jurey, president of the Center for Innovation (CFI) and the Arlington (Texas) Chamber of Commerce coordinated the presentation.
    Clemmons said the biomass plant would process wood, primarily eastern red cedar trees provided by the National Feedstock Resource Center, and other waste materials into fuel. Eighty percent of the biomass would be converted into biofuel with about 50 percent processed into jet fuel and 30 percent processed into diesel fuel.
    “We are not going into ethanol or corn, we are a totally different process,” said Clemmons. “We focus on woody biomass, trees.”
    The proposed facility would process mostly eastern red cedar trees.
    The only native evergreen tree in Kansas, the eastern red cedar has been classified an “invasive” species for its migration into grazing and farmland.
    It has been a popular tree in western Kansas since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s.
    According to the Kansas Forest Service “the dense, compact, long-lived foliage and low branches make excellent windbreaks and living snow fences.”
    Many farmers remove the trees from their property and burn or bring them to landfills.
    K-State Research and Extension has long been a proponent of wood waste to energy programs.  It estimates that nearly 182,000 “green tons” of woody mass have been deposited in burn sites and landfills. 
    Clemmons answered questions about what the plant would look like, and what types of resources would be needed to process the fuel.
    He said that the plant would be a self-contained facility, with no smokestacks and emissions below EPA standards.
    He also said the company would pursue a LEED Silver rating on the facility.
    It would require 25-30 acres of land and would require nearly 125,000 gallons of water a day, equivalent of 100 gallons a minute.
    Clemmons said it would take approximately three gallons of water to produce one gallon of fuel.
    The plant, under the official moniker of “Sun Rays to Oil,” would employ about 80 people said Clemmons.
    Page 2 of 2 - The presentation was only an initial meeting between city officials and SR20. While Clemmons said Greensburg was an attractive place to build the plant, local incentives, housing and transportation and access to a steady supply of eastern red cedar tress would be the determining factors in a final choice.
    editor@kiowacountysignal.com

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