Nippon Paper Industries' new US$85M biomass cogeneration plant in Port Angeles, Washington, to remain shut down, possibly for months, because of multiple cracks in boiler unit

LOS ANGELES , May 8, 2014 () – Nippon Paper Industries’ new US$85 million biomass cogeneration plant at its paper mill in Port Angeles, Washington, will remain shut down, possibly for weeks to months, because of multiple cracks in the boiler unit, said mill manager Steve Johnson, The Peninsula Daily News reported on May 6.

The cause of the cracks, which have compromised the boiler’s mud drum, is currently unknown, Johnson said, noting that it is not yet clear if faulty materials or workmanship was responsible. The leading theory is that the cracks were caused by a combination of caustic water and high temperatures.

The boiler burns woody debris including slash and bark. While primarily intended to produce steam for the paper mill, it will also produce 20 megawatts (MW) of electricity to sell.

Johnson said that while the cost of the repairs is currently unknown, the total amount will likely be significant. It is also unclear whether Nippon or Factory Sales & Engineering, the primary contractor for the boiler, will be responsible for paying to fix the cracks, Johnson added.

The cogeneration plant, which has never operated at full capacity, was first shuttered in February due to problems with the biomass unit. Issues with the biomass unit have not affected overall production.

During the dedication ceremony for the cogeneration facility in November 2013, company officials from Nippon's headquarters in Japan asserted in their speeches that the facility was key to the survival of the paper mill.

The primary source of this article is The Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, Washington, on May 6, 2014. Click here to see the original article.

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