Summit looks to create a market for wood waste |

Summit looks to create a market for wood waste

KIM MARQUISsummit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County government is trying to address the scant market for wood products in the West by considering building a biomass plant at the County Commons near Frisco.The plant would burn wood chips to heat community buildings. A second plant being considered would be located at the medical campus next to the County Commons. A February report projected that 5,000 tons of wood chips could be burned annually to fuel the plants. The heat would be converted to steam and travel in underground pipes to several buildings.While the project could save the county and its medical partners money on energy bills, Commissioner Bill Wallace said he is more interested in the possibility of creating a local market for forest waste.Steve Hill, special projects manager for the county, said trimming even 10 percent off the cost of thinning forests might help attract loggers to the area to do the work.Wood waste is also expected to come from the landfill, where the fee for a ton of clean slash (typically generated at local construction sites) was recently dropped by half. Wood is already being stockpiled in anticipation of the biomass plant(s), which could cost $2.3 million.The county last week applied for a $250,000 grant to purchase a machine to turn trees and wood slash into chips.The county expects to pay for the biomass project through grants and by leveraging money saved on energy bills.A study on potential plant emissions and their environmental effects is being commissioned, Hill said.

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