Wallowa Resources Community Solutions, Inc. (WRCSI) and Integrated Biomass Resources (IBR) were both awarded $250k Wood Innovation Grants through the USFS.
The grants will support two significant infrastructure improvement projects at the mill and create new product lines that can utilize material from forest restoration.
The first grant, awarded through WRCSI, will add a new combined heat and biochar boiler and an associated kiln to the energy equipment currently in operation. The new boiler will utilize mill residuals as fuel to produce thermal energy, which will power the new kiln, and biochar production, which will be marketed directly and used as an ingredient in a new soil amendment product line. The new kiln will double the mill’s bundled firewood production capacity.
The second grant, awarded through IBR, will be used to enhance the post and pole manufacturing equipment currently in use to drive production efficiencies and develop manufacturing capacity for a new product line – barrier wrapped posts, which use an HDPE barrier wrap greatly increase the life of poles in agricultural settings by limiting ground rot.
Rotbloc, based in Bend, manufactures the barrier wrap from recycled drip irrigation tubing.