Million-dollar factory boost with new air filtering system

Blair Price and Kobus Engelbrecht at Carter Holt Harvey.
Blair Price and Kobus Engelbrecht at Carter Holt Harvey. Tanya Easterby

INSTALLATION of a multi-million dollar air cleaning facility begins in July at Carter Holt Harvey's Gympie factory in Hall Rd.

The wet electrostatic precipitator, or WESP, will be built beside the existing factory building to replace the current steam stack with state-of-the-art filtering equipment.

It means the Gympie particleboard plant will achieve best practice environmental standards, factory manager Kobus Engelbrecht said yesterday.

He said Carter Holt Harvey had committed to the major capital expenditure despite the downturn in construction and building approvals in Queensland, and the negative impact of imports on manufacturing businesses.

"CHH is committed to improving its environmental impact and the WESP will capture emissions and reduce the factory output to a plume of moisture," Mr Engelbrecht said.

"Achieving this sort of sustainable production ensures the jobs of more than 90 people in the Gympie region."

CHH Pinepanels chief executive Blair Price said the investment in reducing emissions brought the 40-year-old factory up to the environmental standards of 2013.

Mr Price said the WESP would markedly reduce drier emissions, bringing the particulate rating down to below 50 milligrams per cubic metre.

Member for Gympie David Gibson said the project was a great vote of confidence in the region.

"It is good to see a long-term employer taking their environmental responsibilities seriously," he said.

CHH and project manager Chandra Swamy have worked closely with the State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to obtain the project approvals and ensure the particleboard plant meets the industry benchmark on emissions.

"The Gympie site has gone through a lot of improvements in the past few years, including the installation of a new drier in 2008," Mr Engelbrecht said.

His team conducted thorough research into the best WESP technology available because the Gympie factory processes the high-resin pine species known as slash pine.

CHH sent staff to carry out due diligence in the southern state of the USA, where similar pine species are processed, and has engaged the New Zealand based Windsor Engineering firm to make the major WESP components on behalf of Turbosonic, the Canadian technology experts.

CHH is installing the WESP and brought in Mr Swamy from their Tumut factory where he had managed an installation of similar WESP technology.

Mr Engelbrecht said where possible CHH had used Gympie contractors, including Gympie Building Company for the civil construction and Industrial Controls Australia for the electrical design.

Darren Groves Engineering will handle the structural steel works and installation.

The WESP will be commissioned in September and will become operational in October, with optimisation continuing to December.

CHH has also lodged another application with the Department of Heritage and Environment Protection, which could result in the factory using select building waste as a fibre source for the manufacture of particleboard.

Gympie Times

Topics:  carbon emissions construction environment factory

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