Mountain of Mulch Grows at Biomass Plant

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Courtesy of Security Shredding & Storage News

Renegy Holdings may not be in the mulch business, but you’d never know it. Piled on the company’s property is 25,000 tons of high-quality mulch, and that’s only since the beginning of 2009. By the end of the year, that pile is expected to triple in size to around 75,000 tons, with equal amounts expected to be generated in each of the next couple of years.
“We’re technically not in the mulch business, but by default we happen to be in the mulch business,” says Bob Buckingham, director of business development for Renegy.

The core business of Renegy is energy generation. It operates the only wood fuel biomass generation facility in Arizona, generating about 25 megawatts, enough to power some 35,000 homes. The power is sold to both Arizona Public Services and the Salt River Project, the state’s two largest electric utilities.

To generate that power, the plant, located in Snowflake, Ariz. — where the temperature on the day of this interview hovered well into the triple digits —burns about 500 tons of woody biomass a day.

Most of that material comes from the surrounding White Mountains, where Renegy has agreements with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to thin overgrown forests for fire prevention and to eradicate invasive species. It also collects dead and burned timber from the massive Rodeo-Chediski fire of 2002. That wildfire in east-central Arizona charred more than 467,000 acres.

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