The L'Anse Warden Electric Company plant, a recent start-up company, was converted from a coal-burning plan to a biomass plant, said Natural Resources Commissioner J.R. Richardson, who is the Technical and Safety Manager at the plant.
"This is an exciting venture that is bringing clean, green energy to Michigan," said Mike Reid COO the plant. "Not only is the plant greatly reducing emissions, but it is also reducing landfill space by burning paper mill residue, sawmill and wood processing waste, tire chips and old railroad ties."
The plant is located in L'Anse in Baraga County, and was first opened in 1959 as a coal-burning electric power plant to support the Celotex facility. It was converted to natural gas in 1993, and was placed in a long-term standby condition at that time, Reid said. In 2007, the New York-based company Traxys North America purchased the plant and converted it to a biomass burning plant.
Reid said that the conversion means that the plan will reduce particulate emissions by 40 tons per year, and fine particulates will be reduced by 46 tons per year. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides will be reduced by 1,700 tons per year, which is a greater than 50 percent reduction from burning coal.
Reid said other improvements were made by Traxys to the plant's surroundings, including a new break wall that will improve area fish habitat. Construction work was completed on the break wall in a manner to avoid interference with fish spawning activities. The company also assisted with dredging the L'Anse Marina as a donation to the local community.
The plant recently was nominated for a Small Business Innovation Award, and the winner will be named in April by the Small Business Association of Michigan at its annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards ceremony in Lansing.