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Dow Corning Consider Installing Biomass Energy Facility

Dow Corning's Midland manufacturing site is considering the installation of a biomass-powered energy facility to provide a renewable, reliable and cost-effective supply of steam and electricity necessary for the site's operations.

Cirque Energy, LLC, which would build, own and operate the plant for Dow Corning, recently filed for appropriate environmental permits with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, which is the first step in the process of installing the facility.

"Dow Corning is exploring the use of renewable biomass energy to provide steam and electricity to our manufacturing operations," said Jim Smith, Dow Corning Midland site manager. "Biomass would offer our site the long-term, cost effective and renewable supply of steam and energy we need as we continue to invest and grow our Midland operations."

Biomass energy from the plant would be produced by gasification of plant-derived organic matter releasing the sun's energy these materials contain. In this way, biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy. As long as biomass is produced sustainably, the energy source is completely renewable. The biomass energy facility at Dow Corning's Midland site would initially use waste wood chips obtained from existing forest harvesting, mills, as well as dead trees or old growth harvested as part of sustainable forestry initiatives.

Dow Corning would require that any wood used in the Cirque Energy biomass facility be independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), assuring the wood is obtained and harvested sustainably.

Additionally, the biomass energy plant would include specialized gasification technology and emissions controls to provide the lowest possible air emissions. This gasification technology is regarded as the best available emissions controls by state and federal government agencies.

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