Pellet plant

A B.C. firm is hiring workers as it prepares to turn wastewood into fuel at a Dallas-based plant.

SBC Firemaster has completed a modular plant at its property near the B.C. Livestock yards intended to convert logging slash and pine beetle wood into material that can be burned to create energy.

The Kamloops operation is designed to be a pilot plant and showcase for the technology, said company spokesman Paul Adams.

Adams said the company is hiring workers to boost its current staff of 15 to 20. Its pellet plant is running but still requires environmental approvals in order to operate a burner needed to dry product.

"By the time we get operational we expect to have about 40 staff here."

The company has a long history of shipping firewood, pellets and kindling into the United States. But with the glut of dead timber and logging slash available, along with a move to carbon-neutral energy, it is taking advantage of an exploding market for pellets.

Adams said many companies are intent on creating large plants to turn wastewood into pellets in a bid to take advantage of economies of scale. But SBC Firemaster is scaling its plants to take advantage of local markets - what Adams called a "100-Mile Diet" for energy.

The company claims it can take an order for a pellet-producing plant and have it operational in 150 days.

The Kamloops pellet plant will be SBC Firemaster's "entry-level" operation. The design is modular so more capacity can easily be added. The Kamloops operation is designed to produce 30,000 tonnes of pellets a year.

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