Turning sawdust into fuel: Eagle Bio-Fuels ramps upA new business in New Richmond is turning a waste product into energy.
A new business in New Richmond is turning a waste product into energy.
Eagle Bio-Fuels kicked its production of wood pellets into high gear this week in its North Knowles Avenue facility.
The start-up company moved in to the Simma building on May 15 and has been readying its space ever since, according to co-owner and plant manager Sally Goossen.
“New Richmond is a nice, central location for us,” she said. “We’re close to the 94 corridor, the Twin Cities, Eau Claire and Wausau. Plus this building is great – it’s just phenomenal.”
As the facility begins to ramp up to full production, Goossen said Eagle Bio-Fuels will be buying a semi-truck full of sawdust from local suppliers as well as sources as far away as Iowa and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for its processes. The manufacturer will then feed the sawdust into a giant mill that will convert the dust into solid fuel pellets.
“It takes a lot of power to extrude oak through a pellet die,” Goossen said of the mill machine.
The end product that will be sold to retailers and customers will include hickory and mesquite pellets for barbeque smoking grills, pellets for pellet-burning stoves and pellets for use as animal bedding.
Goossen said there is so much energy packed into each 40-pound bag of wood pellets, a homeowner can heat a typical house for about $4 a day in the winter.
“The initial investment is in the stove,” she said. “But it’s a very efficient way to heat in the long run.”
For those who heat their home with wood, Goossen added, using pellets is much cleaner because you don’t carry in bugs or dirt with the wood.
“And there is no wood chopping required,” she said. “There seem to be more and more people using wood pellets for heat for those reasons.”
The animal bedding product is also very efficient, compared to straw or other products. The pellets work much like kitty litter.
“You only have to change the bedding every two weeks or so rather than every day,” Goossen said.
Eagle Bio-Fuels currently employs six people. Their plan is to manufacture wood pellets 24 hours a day, six days a week.
The company is getting help from members of the New Richmond baseball and hockey teams filling bags of pellets. Eagle Bio-Fuels will also be hiring St. Croix Industries clients who are disabled to do some work in the future.
“It will take us a good four weeks to be running the way we should be and get the bugs worked out,” Goossen said. “Then we’ll be on our way.”
Goossen, who started the Green Friendly Pellet company, has partnered with Susan and Tom Kruger of Plainview, Minn. to produce wood pellets for Eagle Bio-Fuels. The partners hope to expand as demand warrants it.
Eagle Bio-Fuels will be selling its products through Tamarack Materials, Inc. next door.