Potsdam and Newton Falls paper mills getting $2 million grants for cogeneration projects
Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 11:37 am

Paper mills in Potsdam and Newton Falls will be getting $2 million each from the state to develop projects for wood-chip-fueled combined heat and electric power systems.

Potsdam Specialty Paper and Newton Falls Fine Paper are working on projects to generate electric power and capture otherwise wasted heat for buildings at their sites.

The Potsdam mill plans to generate 960 kilowatts with a $13.7 million system.

The Newton Falls plant wants to generate 13,600 kilowatts with their $23.7 million biomass system.

The grants are part of $20 million in grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to 19 projects across the state to improve energy efficiency at the facilities.

The two St. Lawrence County projects are using wood-chip biomass as fuel. All the other projects in the state are using natural gas as fuel, except for one at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, which is using gas and biomass.

Combined heat and power (CHP), developed from the concept of cogeneration, generates on-site electricity while also making use of the heat created during generation. When power is generated by burning a fuel, much of the heat created usually goes up the chimney, wasted. CHP instead reclaims the heat, using it to provide heat or hot water to buildings, for manufacturing or other uses.

It is considered a clean-energy technology. Since power from CHP is generated on-site, there is no transmission loss as there is when electricity is moved over power lines.