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Grand Forks straw pulp plant construction could start in 2017

Construction of a new straw pulp plant in north Grand Forks could start next year. Hua Sun, chief operating officer of North American Green Pulp, said his group is working on financing the project. He hopes to be operational after the 2017 harves...

2770705+Straw Tobias Helbig iStock.jpg
Straw bale. Tobias Helbig/iStockphoto.com

Construction of a new straw pulp plant in north Grand Forks could start next year.

Hua Sun, chief operating officer of North American Green Pulp, said his group is working on financing the project. He hopes to be operational after the 2017 harvest season.

β€œMany, many factors can change the schedule,” Sun said.

The plant would use straw to produce 35,000 tons of pulp per year, which would then be used for paper and cardboard products such as pizza boxes, according to a city staff memo from April. The company looked to Grand Forks in part because of an availability of straw in the area, Sun said previously.

The city approved zoning changes this year to allow the plant at North 36th Street and 20th Avenue North, which is north of the J.R. Simplot Co. plant.

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City staff members had sought answers on how increased truck traffic generated from the plant would affect the area, as well as what type of emissions would be produced and how the straw would be stored.

β€œI think we were satisfied with what we were provided with at the time,” said Brad Gengler, director of the city’s Planning and Community Development Department. The city is now waiting on North American Green Pulp to submit its site plan.

Plans for the Grand Forks plant come after the closure of Ultra Green, a manufacturer of biodegradable packaging products in Devils Lake.

Sun said he is not involved with Ultra Green, which he said did not make pulp. He hopes his company can learn from their experience, however.

β€œWe will limit ourselves within our expertise,” Sun said.

The North American Green Pulp plant would create 30 to 40 local jobs, the city memo said.

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