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Youngstown steam plant is world’s first to use wood fuel in new way

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Thermal supplies the steam used to heat most of the buildings in downtown Youngstown.

Recently, the company made a million dollar investment, now burning a new form of wood waste.

Youngstown Thermal CEO Carl Avers explained what’s new at the plant.

“We were burning wood waste as chips and a company came by and said they could supply wood chips in the form of oil and it could be trucked in everyday, which is a very simple process for burning,” he said.

The supplier of the low carbon biofuel is Canadian company Ensyn Corp. It’s the newest renewable energy source on the market.

The company signed up about three years ago to start the process. Along with the oil wood chips, the company also invested in a giant tank.

“[The tank] allows us to receive wood waste, store it and burn it in our boiler to heat the downtown area,” Avers said.

The wood oil comes from the waste of a tree that is harvested for lumber. It’s cleaner than what the plant was burning before, which was bad for the environment.

“It’s a major advancement for our plant but it’s also a major improvement for district heating systems all across the country. We’re the first in the world to use this fuel as boiler fuel, and the company that produces this oil is now marketing it across the United States, using our facility as a case history,” Avers said.

The plant recently had six engineers visit from Europe who are interested in the new fuel, they wanted to see how everything works. A new set of engineers will visit this upcoming week.

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