Columbia Pulp has opened 18,000ft² pilot plant for the production of paper pulp from waste straw in Pomeroy, Washington, US.
The company is also engaged in the construction of North America’s first tree-free pulp mill outside of neighboring Starbuck, Washington.
Both facilities will involve in the conversion of wheat straw and seed alfalfa into pulp and biopolymers used in the manufacturing of sustainable and tree-free paper and packing products.
They can also be used in multiple specialty chemical applications
Expected to be fully operational in September, the new pilot plant will produce 10 tons of pulp per day.
The first-of-its-kind Lyons Ferry pulp plant will generate 90 jobs in the communities of Dayton, Starbuck and surrounding areas, as well as enables to avoid the need to burn 230,000 tons of straw waste per annum.
Lyons Ferry pulp plant will hold capacity to produce 400 tons of pulp per day at its 140,000ft² facility.
The mill will also produce environmentally friendly biopolymers, in addition to producing pulp for use in papermaking applications. The biopolymers can be used on roads, in animal feed and other applications.
The pilot plant will remain open to undertake smaller client orders, once construction is completed on the Lyons Ferry mill.
Columbia Pulp CEO John Begley said: “Our Pomeroy pilot plant will employ up to eight full-time employees, and provide them the opportunity to learn the manufacturing process and hone their skills on a smaller scale ahead of the Lyons Ferry Pulp Plant opening.
“This pilot plant allows us the opportunity to provide prospective customers with product samples comparable to what they can purchase from the full-scale mill.”
Located in Columbia County, the company’s facility will involve in the production commodity and specialty straw pulp for direct sale to paper and packaging manufacturers. It serves as an alternative to wood-based pulp material.
The company has licensed a proprietary process to use wheat straw and alfalfa straw for the production of market pulp.