Kremmling: Making the best of beetle kill
September 22, 2008
Among the logs stacked outside the pellet plant in Kremmling, there are pieces of wood that deserve a better fate. Or such is the theory behind a recent partnership formed between Confluence Energy, who operates the pellet plant, and Colorado Blue Logs, LLC.
The two businesses will sort the beetle killed logs according to grade. The high grade wood will be used for lumber.
. Confluence will grind up what is left into pellets and mulch.
“There’s a great deal of synergy,” said CBL President and COO Lorne W. Curl. “I’m a high-end purchaser and he’s a low-end purchaser. The high quality timbers get put to a better use than just being pellets. Nobody wants to see them going to waste.”
“If we can make a house (with) this, there’s no sense crushing it up into a pellet,” said Confluence Energy President and CEO Mark Mathis. “We should be putting the best value to it.”
Colorado Blue Logs plans to build a processing facility next door to the pellet plant.
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They hope to start building the 6,000-square-foot facility in Kremmling in January and could start production as early as April.
The new partnership will employ 20 to 25 people from the Kremmling area.
Curl will use straight logs that are between six and 10 inches in diameter.
Colorado Blue Logs has also partnered with Breckenridge Timber to Log, which invented a machine to strip beetle from logs so it can be put to use.
Curl said they want to be a positive part of the community by supplying jobs to local people, contributing to the economy, building affordable housing and increasing retail establishments in the town.
“We want to invest in the town as well as in the industrial-side,” he said.
They are looking at where they could build more affordable housing for employees.
They hope to build 900 to 1,200-square-foot houses.
“We will build those homes out of our own product,” he said.
The company hopes to start hiring in January.
Four people are employed at the current facility ” Breckenridge Timber to Log
located in Keystone.
Colorado Blue Logs will build a bigger operation in Kremmling, but will continue the partnership with Timber to Log, he said.
Curl said Confluence Energy and Colorado Blue Logs share a vision of a no waste industrial effort.
“We have a much greater ability to grow and expand by having a partnership with Confluence Energy,” he said.
Confluence Energy, Colorado’s first wood-pellet mill, started operating 24/7 earlier this month to keep up with customer demand.
The mill will utilize approximately 180,000 to 225,000 ton of green material per year and produce enough wood pellets to meet the heating needs of 30,000 to 40,000 homes.
The plant started creating Eco-Flame Pellets Aug. 11. Pellets are used in home heating stoves, commercial and industrial heating applications. Confluence Energy Pellet Plant has 26 employees and will create an additional 50 logging and truck driving jobs, Mathis said.
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