East Millinocket could welcome a new tenant to its former paper mill site if a Canadian renewable energy company receives state approval to open a facility that converts wood chips into heating fuel.
Ensyn Fuels Inc. is negotiating a lease with the town of East Millinocket to open a biorefinery on the site of the former Great Northern Paper Co. mill. It would be the second company on the mill site to use a process that heats wood chips to make another product.
The Ottawa company would produce renewable fuel oil at the old plant by converting biomass, such as woodchips, using thermal technology, according to an air quality license application filed with the Ministry of Maine Environmental Protection.
If approved, the company would use 165,000 tons of wood chips per year to produce about 20 million gallons of biocrude, depending on demand.
Ensyn is asking the agency for permission to operate a dryer, renewable fuel oil storage tanks and a generator on the site of the old factory.
Ensyn and the town of East Millinocket, which owns the former factory site, have been negotiating a lease for more than a year to allow the company to operate a manufacturing plant there, the council chairman said. of directors, Mike Michaud. Ensyn has the option to lease approximately 20 acres on the property.
The city is also awaiting information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to see if the company can move into the site of the old factory.
Ensyn had been interested in the plant for some time, Michaud said. Lee Torrens, Ensyn’s chairman, was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
“It’s a little past the preliminary stage,” said Michaud. “We are cautiously optimistic.”
Michaud said he hopes the two parties will release a lease agreement in the coming months before the lease option ends in July.
Ensyn would begin construction immediately if its state license is approved, with an expected completion date of April 1, 2024, the company said in its application to the Department of Environmental Protection.
It would become the second renewable energy tenant of the former factory, which closed permanently in 2014.
Biocarbon Standard, a Portland-based renewable energy company that produces an alternative to fertilizers, signed a lease in February 2021 to operate a pyrolysis facility there.
Nearby, on the site of the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue factory, another company also offers a biorefinery which would use wood waste to produce a fuel oil substitute.