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Wood-Residue Fuel for Industry

In 1973, Russell Lands became involved in the energy field. Having grown up in the forestry and textile industries, company management was able to recognize the value of forest residues as an industrial fuel.

The 1973-74 fuel crisis provided a proving ground for the idea that wood energy was adaptable for use by non-forest product industries. During that period Russell Lands, with the cooperation of Russell Corporation, set about to develop a comprehensive study and demonstration of the feasibility of wood-fired boilers in industry.

This effort resulted in the construction, of the first wood-fired boiler to be used by a major U.S., non-forest industry. The Russell Corporation boiler was completed in January 1976 and began operation at that time. The boiler, which supplied processed steam for use in the manufacture of textile goods, burned as much as 125,000 tons per year of sawmill residue. Russell Lands has supplied this fuel under contract since January 1976. (All plants combined have used 6,000,000 tons of wood waste and saved 6,000,000 barrels of oil.) The company was also instrumental in the installation of wood-fired boilers at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee and Burlington Industries (later Fruit of the Loom) in Rabun Gap, Georgia.

Wood-residue fuel was provided under contract without the cutting of one single additional tree! This was accomplished by using a commodity that previously had a negative economic value – sawmill and forest residue. This project was enormously successful.

The intensive and integral involvement of Russell Lands’ management and staff in the conception, design, development and operation of the Russell Corporation boiler plant, and the company’s role as fuel supplier to Russell Corporation, led to the creation in 1975 of ECON. The principal aim of ECON is the promotion of wood and wood residue as an alternative fuel for industry. ECON has become a leader in the wood energy field. The company has been involved in numerous wood energy studies and conversions by industry, government and institutions.



The wood-burning boiler Ben Russell convinced Russell Corporation to buy that, literally, saved millions — of dollars and gallons of fuel.