Wood Pellets Processing, Handling, and Storage

Pinnacle Renewable Energy -- Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Problem Solvers

Wood pellets are made from so-called ‘waste-wood,’ diseased and insect-killed trees being prime examples. The Wood Pellet industry turns this waste into renewable, carbon-neutral fuel.

Feature Project: Westview Terminal Redevelopment

Client: Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group

Location: Prince Rupert, BC, Canada

Pinnacle Renewable Energy -- Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaThe Project

In the quest to reduce its shipping costs, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group hired CMC to help plan and develop its own shipping facility in Prince Rupert. Currently under construction and scheduled to go into operation in the fall of 2013, this new terminal will allow Pinnacle to substantially reduce its overall shipping costs, from the overland portion of its production plants to the marine portion serving its clients in Europe and Asia.

Project Goals

Keeping in mind the primary goal of substantially reducing Pinnacle’s shipping costs, CMC undertook the following initiatives:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Environmental studies
  • Public review
  • Project approval
  • Preliminary and detailed engineering
  • Equipment procurement
  • Project and construction management

The new terminal is being constructed on the site of an abandoned grain mill originally built in 1926. Since some of Prince Rupert’s prime domestic real estate is located close to the site, the project was subject to a high degree of public scrutiny regarding dust emissions, noise and safety.


Again, keeping in mind the primary goal, the terminal includes numerous design features that will minimize these concerns:

  • Low speed material handling equipment
  • A fully enclosed material handling system (conveyors, bucket elevators and silos)
  • High capacity silo aeration and ventilation system
  • Custom-made cascading spouts in the silos, chute work and on the shiploader
  • Elimination of centralized dust-control systems and concealment of aeration fans to reduce noise emissions

The project also included several ancillary projects:

  • Design of new facilities for two existing tenants on the project site and coordination of their transfer to:
    • a crab fishing operation
    • a tug services facility
  • Design of a new private rail yard and negotiations with the local rail operator
  • Negotiations with the local port authority
  • Sourcing of specialized products and suppliers in the USA and the UK  

Corporate Profile: Wood Pellets Processing, Handling and Storage

Other Selected Projects

Truck Dump Facility
Fibreco, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fibreco Export -- North Vancouver, British ColumbiaIn order to better serve local wood pellet producers Fibreco engaged CMC to develop a plan to allow the receipt of truck based shipments. CMC also prepared a conceptual design for a high capacity bean ladder for use in Fibreco's new wood pellet storage unit.  
RTI Phase I Storage Remediation
Houston, Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
Houston Pellets -- Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaHouston Pellet called upon CMC to find a solution to their storage and quality problems. A review of the flow characteristics of the transport systems and the silo geometry revealed several problems but most particularly the silo feed arrangement and the silo floor geometry.

Wood Pellets Handling Facilities
Enviva, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Enviva -- Richmond, VA

As part of their business development plan Intrinergy had the opportunity to take over underutilised shipping facilities in Mobile, Texas, and in Wilmington, South Carolina.  Speed was of the essence in this work and CMC was engaged to provide a quick turnaround on feasibility, GA and cost estimate for these facilities. 

Based upon some overall arrangements of the existing Mobile, Texas transhipment facility, CMC developed basic layouts and general arrangements for several potential solutions.

RTI Phase 2 Shipping Facility
Houston, Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
Houston Pellets -- Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaThe second phase of Houston Pellet's rehabilitation of their RTI terminal involved the rework of the terminal's shipping system.

CMC designed a revised shipping system.

RTI Phase 3 Receiving and Storage
Houston, Prince Rupert, BC
Houston Pellets -- Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaThe final phase of Houston Pellet's rehabilitation of their RTI terminal involved the rework of the terminal's receiving system and an increase in the storage capacity. 

Burns Lake Technical Assistance
Pinnacle, Burns Lake, BC, Canada
Pinnacle Renewable Energy -- Burns Lake, British ColumbiaShortly after the commissioning of their new Burns Lake facility, Pinnacle encountered some technical difficulties with the raw material infeed section and requested CMC to assist in resolving the matter.

CMC investigated the matter and discovered that the transport system was having difficulty adapting to some unexpected variations in raw product composition. These variations were causing alternating surges and starvations to feeders that normally handle continuous flows.

AgPort Expansion and Relocation Feasibility Study
Prince Rupert Port Authority, Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
Prince Rupert Port Authority -- Prince Rupert, British ColumbiaThe Prince Rupert Port Authority called on CMC to help them determine how to rework their existing, but underutilised Fairview terminal.

CMC studied several alternatives for the Fairview AgPort portion of the terminal and eventually selected one as being the most favourable. This option was then more fully developed in terms of design and probable costs.