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GOODFIELD -- Approaching 40 feet tall, the scrap wood pile at Paul Wever Construction Equipment just south of Interstate 74 is becoming known as Mount Wood.

It has nearly doubled in size to about 10 million pounds since Wever explained his spin-off company, Chip Energy, to the Goodfield Village Board last November.

The company recycles wood and other biomass into hardened pucks that could be used to produce energy. It would be the prototype for other buildings that he envisions being built in every county in the state to recycle wood.

Chip Energy markets a variety of other biomass heating units, including a furnace. It sold its first 200,000 BTU unit to the City of Rockford recently for $50,000. It runs on chipped brush and wood that is collected.

Chip Energy takes in 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of wood every month from six local companies and sends out 10,000 to 20,000 pounds every month. At PWCE, workers sort through the wood for pallets in good shape and resell it to other local companies; broken wood is smashed for the pile.

Some of the broken wood is turned into mulch, which Chip Energy sells, or is turned into erosion socks, which are sold to prevent erosion on highway construction sites.

While he waits word on grants and other funding, Wever is counting on power companies that burn coal to use biomass as a logical supplement as they continue to move toward meeting renewable fuels standards.

He also has plans to contract with public bodies to mow their right-of-ways for free in exchange for taking the grass and turning it into hardened biomass pellets.

Wever said there is no danger of the wood pile internally combusting, since it breathes, and there are no rats.

"Rodents don't eat wood," he said. "There's no food. I get a rare bunny rabbit. We've had a skunk. There are no vermin."


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