DNR’s Forest Biomass Initiative part of project that brought 34 jobs to rural Springdale

Springdale Lumber Mill
Springdale Lumber Mill owner Dale Borgford (left) explains the Octaflame burner he built to Commissioner Peter Goldmark, and Rachael Jamison, DNR Energy & Climate Policy Specialist. Photo: Bryan Flint/DNR.

This summer’s reopening of a long-closed lumber mill in the small town of Springdale, north of Spokane, is an early and visible success in DNR’s Forest Biomass Initiative. The reopening of the Springdale Lumber Mill has created 34 new jobs in the midst of a prolonged economic slump. It is especially notable because those jobs are contributing to the nation’s emerging renewable energy economy.

The mill owned by Borgford Bioenergy will use its own sawdust, unused cuttings, and other mill residue, to generate much of the electricity it needs and will soon save thousands of dollars a month in energy costs.

The mill focuses on cutting wood beams and other specialty wood products. Mill owner Dale Borgford says waste from operations will be converted to a gas in a specially built low-emission pyrolysis burner he designed (Octoflame Burner). The process will produce about one megawatt of electricity, part of which will power the mill with the rest resold to the local utility company. The heat generated in the process will be used to dry the green wood the mill cuts. The leftover ash, called ‘biochar,’ will be sold as a fertilizer for crops. Borgford expects to also produce a type of oil known as pyrolysis oil that can be further refined into vehicle and aviation fuels.

Federal grants helped get the project into operation. Learn more about the Borgford Bio-energy project and how it and other projects in the DNR Forest Biomass Initiative can help create green jobs, reduce forest fire risks, and cut down on harmful emissions into the environment.

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