Renewafuel LLC Plans Biomass Production Plant in Michigan

Renewafuel LLC, a subsidiary of mining company, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, announced plans to build a next-generation biomass fuel production facility in Marquette, Michigan. Projected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2009, the plant will annually produce 150,000 tons of biofuel cubes from a sustainable composite of collected wood and agricultural feedstocks, including wood byproducts, corn stalks, grasses and energy crops.

The biofuel cubes generate about the same amount of energy as coal from the Western United States; however, the cubes emit 90 percent less sulfur dioxide, 35 percent less particulate matter and 30 percent less acid gases than coal. The cubes are made from feedstocks that are considered biogenic carbon, and will not add to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. Because of their size and density, the cubes can be used in most solid fuel systems with little or no modifications required.

At full production, Renewafuel will produce approximately 60,000 tons of biomass fuel cubes for the steam plant of Marquette Board of Light and Power, as well as replace a portion of coal used at Cliffs’ two nearby Michigan iron ore mines as process fuel for kilns used to harden iron ore pellets. Cliffs indicated the capital cost for the facility would be approximately US $10 million.

Don Koivisto, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture said, “Renewafuel’s investment demonstrates that Michigan is a state ripe with possibilities for alternative energy development.”

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