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Clean Power and Fraser reach understanding on purchasing steam

Clean Power Development project manager Bill Gabler and Fraser Paper Gorham mill general manager Willis Blevins shake on the understanding that Clean Power will provide Fraser Paper with steam from the proposed Berlin biomass facility. (click for larger version)
August 19, 2009
GORHAM — Clean Power Development, one of the companies working to build a biomass facility in Berlin, and the Fraser Paper mill in Gorham have drafted a memorandum of understanding regarding the purchase of steam from the proposed biomass facility.

According to Clean Power project manager Bill Gabler, the plan is for Clean Power to sell a little more than a quarter of their electric generation capacity to Fraser in the form of steam.

"We've seen this as a bedrock piece of what we're trying to do," he said. "What it really does is make our plant more efficient."

It is more efficient because creating electricity from wood is an inefficient process; only about about 30 percent of the wood's heat is captured as electricity. Using wood for thermal production, however increases efficiency significantly.

"It could put it as high as 80 percent efficient," Mr. Gabler said.

The partnership with Frasier will result in better than 60 percent efficient use of the fuel, he said, and the plant will still have 19 megawatts of electricity to sell.

Clean Power is currently looking for a buyer for the electricity they plan to produce. They have a complaint before the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission for what they claim is unfair treatment by Public Service New Hampshire, one of the main state's main electricity buyers.

In the meantime, Clean Power is still looking for more opportunities to integrate thermal production into their Berlin project. Mr. Gabler said they are looking a mix of about 40 percent thermal production, 60 percent electricity production.

Clean Power plans to sell the steam to Fraser for the same price it would have sold the electricity that steam would have generated.

"It's not like it makes us richer," Mr. Gabler said, "From a whole variety of factors it's the right thing to do."

Fraser Paper's Gorham mill general manager Willis Blevins was not available for comment. Fraser Paper went into bankruptcy in June and is in the process of restructuring.

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