Port Townsend Paper has brought the first stage of a three-stage plan to convert its main fossil fuel source from oil to compressed natural gas online, in order to achieve cleaner air emissions and a more competitive mill.
When all three stages of the conversion are online in 2016, the conversion is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 25 percent from its current level. This reduction would continue a decade-long trend during which Port Townsend Paper reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by nearly 60 percent. The mill also expects the conversion to make it more competitive by increasing the efficiency of its boiler, and significantly reducing its fuel cost over time.
Compressed natural gas is recognized by the United States Department of Energy for its emissions benefits, relatively low cost, and domestic availability. It is widely considered as the cleanest fossil fuel on the market today. In addition, compressed natural gas has a favorable safety profile, as it is non-toxic, and is cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having a very narrow range of flammability, which significantly reduces risk.
Kevin Scott about the new fuel
Kevin Scott, Engineering and Environmental Manager of Port Townsend paper, said, “The new fuel is burning cleanly. This is an innovative step for us and our community, as we are the first large manufacturer in the State of Washington to use compressed natural gas as a main fossil fuel source. This conversion is being very well executed by the Port Townsend Paper team and Xpress Natural Gas, our supplier.”
Colin Fernie, President of Port Townsend Paper and Crown Packaging, said, “We appreciate the guidance and support that we received on this conversion from the State of Washington, Jefferson County, the City of Port Townsend, and our residential and commercial neighbors. The new fuel is performing well and meeting our commitments and expectations, and we will monitor it closely to ensure that continues.”
Steve Klinger, CEO of Crown Paper Group, the owner of Port Townsend Paper, said, “The mill is transforming into a high performance operation. The compressed natural gas conversion is a major milestone. When you consider the conversion, in combination with our optimization of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) and our acceleration of the settlement pond remediation, we have made very significant progress in a relatively short period of time, and are validating the investments that are being made there.” The natural gas conversion represents a $3.1 million investment.