Curran Renewable Energy opens doors for National Bioenergy Day tour
MASSENA — Curran Renewable Energy opened its doors for a tour Wednesday as part of the fourth annual National Bioenergy Day.
They were one of nearly 50 organizations throughout the United States that took part in Bioenergy Day activities to demonstrate the many benefits that bioenergy provides on the local level and the important role that biomass energy, particularly wood energy, can play in supporting stronger rural economies and a healthy environment.
Bioenergy is the use of any organic material, such as forest thinnings, residues, agricultural waste or urban wood waste to generate heating, cooling, electricity or fuels. Curran Renewable Energy has been producing renewable biofuel for several years, offering premium wood pellets as a viable renewable energy fuel source. Their premium wood pellets power stoves and other appliances in homes and businesses to reduce heating costs and save energy resources.
Patrick Curran, president of Curran Renewable Energy and Seaway Timber Harvesting, said their business fluctuates based on the price of fossil fuels, but they’re holding their own right now.
“We’re running at about 60 percent capacity,” said Mr. Curran, who led Wednesday’s tour along with Marketing Manager Kelli Curran and Plant Manager Dan Measheaw.
Curran Renewable Energy was established in 2009, and they purchase the necessary feedstock from their sister company, Seaway Timber Harvesting, which allows them to control the supply, species and what part of the trees end up in their products.
Visitors who participated in Wednesday’s tour had an opportunity to see the production process up close as Mr. Curran explained each step.
Crews remove branches and flail chipper to remove bark, leaving clean green stems to be chipped for wood pellet production.
The clean green chips are then ground and put through a dryer before they’re ground again into sawdust. The sawdust is then extruded into pellets with pure compression and no additives. Wood pellets then pass through two shaker screens to remove sawdust and loose fines.
“The more softwood the product, the cleaner it is,” Mr. Curran said.
Part of the tour included information about CSX rail cars that were sitting near the Commerce Drive plant. Mr. Curran said that, with the help of the state and the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, they were able to capture some funds to put in a rail spur at the north end of the property. The rail spur is used by the company, and is available to any other business that needs rail service, he said.
“It will be valuable to the community,” he said.
Visitors also heard about a new furnace that was built and installed by Torbel Energy and Environment, Portugal. It was produced in Portugal and shipped to the United States in 54 containers.
Mr. Curran said the design of the furnace, which has a thermal capacity of 15 megawatts and has just become operational, will allow them to have the cleanest product on the market. Multi-cyclones on the new machine capture ash and burning particles so it produces a cleaner wood.
“Without the furnace, we can’t do anything,” he said. “We’re only using half of it. We’re getting all the heat we need.”
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