July 18, 2012, New York, NY — Environmental regulators for the state of Florida issued a draft permit today, signalling their intent to allow Green Circle Bio Energy to boost production at its industrial wood pellet manufacturing plant near the town of Cottondale.
Green Circle filed its application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in April after approaching production limits under its current operating permit.
The revised permit will allow the plant to produce 810,000 t/yr compared with 610,000 t/yr previously, but Green Circle does not anticipate producing at capacity in the near term, chief executive Morten Neraas told Argus.
The company targets 600,000t of production in 2013, up from current output of over 500,000 t/yr. The additional supply is already under contract, according to Neraas.
“We are not considering this a major expansion project, but we are taking advantage of efficiencies in the plant to grow output,” Neraas said. Given the lengthy permitting process, the company opted to build additional capacity into the permit for further unplanned growth should market conditions align, he said.
The permit also authorizes an average of 305 truck deliveries a day of wood residues, up from a previous 180 truck deliveries, and construction of the following new equipment — a green chip screening and sizing operation, a dryer line, a dry chip silo, up to 10 horizontal hammer mills, three new pellet mills and a pneumatic transfer system.
Before the state grants final approval, the draft permit is subject to a 14-day public comment period.
Green Circle could expand outside the Cottondale plant. “We are considering building a new plant, and will look to leverage our expertise in the southeast,” Neraas said.
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