Schuyler Wood Pellet

 

New England Pellet Company opened a facility in Schuyler Business Park, near Utica, Herkimer County called Schuyler Wood Pellet. They get their material entirely from New York sources, and the majority of their feedstock comes from other woodproduct manufacturing companies. Most of the material is sawdust and woodchips purchased from sawmills, but the company also buys kiln-dried hardwood chips and roundwood chips (lowergrade, debarked timber). It all comes from within 100 miles of the plant, with the average being 50-60 miles. They make one type of pellet, 80% hardwood and 20% softwood. The raw product comes in at 40-45% moisture and the finished product has 3-4% moisture.

Electricity comes from the national grid, and they dry their material with heat from wood combustion (wood and sawdust diverted from their processing line). The plant has the ability to produce 100,000 tons of pellets per year, but is currently operating at 90,000 tons/year (not as a conscious decision). 75% of the pellets are sold and used in New York State, and some is shipped to their facility in New Hampshire (which has been around since 1992). Much is sold through specialty retailers, distributed and marketed through Agway, or sold by online retailers. The product is primarily used for residential heating, and a small amount for commercial heating, although Charlie Niebling, General Manager of New England Pellet Company (p: 603-532-4666 x122, e: cniebling@pelletheat.com) states that the commercial market is expected to grow in the near future.

The plant itself cost $11½ million (printed lit says $10½), financed through an industrial revenue bond, and began operation in December of 2007. Niebling was not willing to share any other financial information. He did say that cost for raw material has gone up recently due to the economy, and that cost is the main issue, not availability. Niebling asserts that while it is true that "residues" volume is down a lot, as saw mills, etc. are producing a lot less than they were even two years ago, New England Pellet has made up the difference with roundwood chips. The plant, he says, is designed and engineered to run on just about anything.

A tour of the facility in July 2009 provided the following additional information:

  • optimal capacity is about 250 tons/day
  • they have orders to heat roughly 70,000 homes but can supply pellets for only about 35,000, so they're looking to build another plant somewhere in the Northeast
  • they receive roughly 25-30 truckloads of sawdust or chips/day, with each truck having a capacity of 25-40 tons
  • they load roughly 18-20 trucks/day with pellets
  • the only thing they ever add to the mix is soy oil to lubricate the dies



 

Last Updated: June 21, 2011

Last updated: June 21st 2011 - 1:32pm