The Columbia Pulp facility is located on a 449 acre site near the Lyons Ferry Bridge in Columbia County, Washington. The site is located in the heart of one of the densest wheat farming regions in North America. Columbia Pulp will be the first full scale, straw pulp mill in North America.
The estimated cost of the facility is $80 million.
The purpose of the facility will be to produce high quality, commodity and specialty straw pulp for direct sale to paper and packaging manufacturers as an alternative to wood-based pulp material. The pulp produced by Columbia Pulp will have quality specifications equal to or better than virgin hardwood pulp or recycled pulp. The product will also be FSC certified.
There is approximately 4 million tons of wheat straw and alfalfa straw found in abundance in and around the proposed location (about 4,000,000 tons annually). Raw material will be sourced within a 75 mile radius of the site.
Straw is a natural waste component of the wheat and alfalfa harvesting process. After grain harvest a portion remains on the soil during fallow cycle or plowed into the soil for soil conservation purposes. Considerable quantities are field burned and some is sold for animal bedding. It poses a significant logistical and environmental challenge for the farmer regardless of its disposition.
Columbia Pulp has licensed a proprietary process to use wheat straw and alfalfa straw to produce market pulp with an innovative technology. The Company will obtain significant economic advantages and environmental benefits compared to the traditional wood pulping. This proven technology requires less capital investment in equipment, less energy, fewer chemicals and less process water.
This product will be sold to multiple end users in the Pacific Northwest as a substitute for both unbleached and semi-bleached hardwood pulp.