KREMMLING - Wood pellet producer Confluence Energy has completed its acquisition of Rocky Mountain Pellet Company in Walden, a deal announced during a public gathering in Walden on March 15.
The two companies where formerly competitors in the wood pellet marketplace.
Confluence Energy acquired the Walden plant because it needed extra capacity, according to Mark Mathis, president and CEO of Confluence Energy. Confluence recently began to produce new products described as absorbents and bioremediation agents that can be used to treat contaminated water such as water used in oil and gas drilling operations. These new products have the potential to be in high demand by the oil and gas industry and could expand Confluence Energy's customer base.
Confluence Energy was considered the largest producer of wood pellets in the region and the largest producer west of the Mississippi River. The company stands to increase its share of the market now that it no longer has to compete with the plant in Walden.
The wood pellets are made from beetle-killed wood and are used as a heating product for wood pellet stoves. The pellets are considered a clean and renewable form of domestic heating and can also be used as landscaping material, animal bedding, and absorbents.
In the fall of 2012, Confluence Energy was awarded a 10-year stewardship contract from the U.S. Forest Service on a bid of $4.75 million to remove beetle-killed wood from the Medicine-Bow Routt National Forest, which will be used to supply the two plants with wood to produce the company's products.
The contract was awarded based on price and the company's technical ability to promote forest health projects through removal of beetle-killed trees from the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. Confluence Energy will pay for lumber that is usable and will pile or scatter the debris that has no commercial value.
Confluence has begun to produce three different bioremediation products using beetle-killed wood that can be used by the oil and gas industry to decontaminate water and hard surfaces. The products are called EcoSponge, EcoChar, and EcoPondSweep. These products absorb oil and other contaminants, break down the hydrocarbons, and then can be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner as they are considered biodegradable, according to the company.
Confluence energy has patented the technology for EcoSponge. EcoChar and EcoPondSweep are similar products that are used for slightly different purposes. EcoChar and EcoPondSweep can be used to filter contaminated water such as water used in oil and gas drilling operations and can remove hydrocarbons from the surface of water.
Mathis was the idea man behind the new products, which sprung from "connecting some dots and looking at opportunities," he said. Mathis personally researched and developed the new products.
The future of Confluence
Mathis said he plans to shut the plants down for a short time before opening them for five- or six-day work weeks. He also commented that he plans to have the two plants operating at seven days per week in the near future. The two plants typically operated seasonally; however, Mathis said he hopes to have the plants operating year-round.