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Joyce Endee

Prima America bio-fuels pilot project expansion project underway

November 20, 2012
GROVETON — Work on the Prima America project on Route 3 North is underway, with an anticipated commissioning date of June 2013, reported its president Michel Bisson of St.-Georges, Canada, in an e-mail exchange.

Stark resident Tom Bushey of Nordic Construction Services of Berlin is the project manager.

Most of the work on the Groveton site is designed to increase the height of a portion of the existing building to 80 feet. Work has already been done by Nordic Construction to solidify the soil, install cement piers, and uniformly level the floor, Bisson explained.

Nordic's next step in the coming weeks will be to erect the steel structure that will use approximately 260 tons of steel.

More equipment will arrive in Jan. 2013. "There is a lot of work that will be done during the winter," Bisson explained. A 93.5-inch stack is part of the design, according to the Planning Board approved site plan drawn up by Horizons Engineering of Littleton.

"Once construction of the pilot plant ends, then the real work will begin as we will have several up-to-date advanced technologies that are breakthroughs in the solid-to-liquid fuel conversion at low temperature," Bisson said. "Many technologies will be tested and implemented, and then — once we will have all the engineering data — we will be able to decide in what direction we will decide to design a scaled-up plant that will have to be built.

"This pilot plant is a very first step to help us to evaluate technologies, the local workforce, and regional engineering capabilities as well as to see the availability of raw materials," he continued. "We need to adapt to a very movable reality in terms of raw material availability in the region. Our philosophy is that we don't want to use good wood logs to produce fuel but rather waste biomass, sawdust, waste pallets, and so forth.

"At the beginning we need about 20,000 tons of dry material at 10 percent humidity, Bisson said. "Several regional suppliers have offered us the needed quantity of wood, so for the pilot plant it is okay. But we still need to find important quantity if one day we hope to built a 100-million-gallon plant.

"In the future if the state government grants us permission we could even use all organic and carbon content city waste," Bisson said, noting that about 60 percent of the waste-stream now ends up in landfills or is burned up. "We could turn these materials into commercial diesel instead.

"One day that will be an important decision for the people of New Hampshire to make," Bisson explained. "Citizens will need to think about and decide whether to turn waste into black gold and really to turn the vision of energy independence into a reality at a fraction of the cost of what today's fuel cost.

"That will be an important debate," he explained. "I totally trust people's judgment.

You know we hear a lot about the environment, bio-fuels, and the like, but it is time to stop dreaming about it or talking about it and we must just do it.

"When I was studying at a university in Canada, a professor in my entrepreneurship class taught us that one of the most common definitions of what an entrepreneur is in the USA is that 'an entrepreneur is a dreamer who does.'"

"So it is time America let entrepreneurs create jobs, which is probably why God created so much entrepreneurship in America," Bisson said, pointing out he believes that a country always needs to reinvent itself. "A country must follow the path of its evolution to continue the quest of freedom and independence," he said, noting although that ideal is never attained, it must be strived for.

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