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Science and Innovations

Oregon Company Wants to Bring ‘Waste to Energy’ Plant to Arizona

Salt River Project

An Oregon-based company received a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to study the feasibility of building a first-of-its-kind commercial plant in Northern Arizona that turns waste wood into a new kind of fuel. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Forest restoration projects in Northern Arizona have been hampered by the lack of markets for the waste wood left behind. HM3 Energy wants to change that by turning wood chips into a fuel called “torrefied briquettes.” The process involves roasting the wood at high temperatures, similar to roasting coffee beans. According to the company spokesperson, briquettes burn more cleanly than coal and can be used in existing coal-fired power plants without major modifications. The fuel might be sold to Japan, which has incentives in place for alternative energy. HM3 Energy will partner with Coconino County and Northern Arizona University on the four-hundred-thousand-dollar grant project.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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