The first tenant at the Port of Vancouver USA’s Columbia Gateway project has reached agreement with port staff on a Letter of Intent to lease 30 of the 75 total acres of planned industrial property. Rappaport Energy Consulting will build a state-of-the art biofuels facility, which will serve Vancouver and the metropolitan area.

The facility ’ a Biorefinery/Biomass Energy Project ’ is expected to create 135 construction jobs and 95 permanent jobs. The investment in the facility is estimated at $150 million.

The lease will include the 30 acres of property, as well as access to rail lines, services common to industrial parks, access to a liquid bulk-loading marine terminal and construction of infrastructure.

Development of biodiesel processing plant, capable of 60 million gallons a year will be the first phase of the project. The plant will be designed to handle vegetable oils, animal fats or palm oil, providing flexibility that promises viability for a long term. Cost of building the biodiesel plant is estimated at $60 million. The plant will provide 40 jobs.

‘This is really a very exciting project,’ said the Port’s Executive Director Larry Paulson. ‘It creates a significant number of jobs, and when we talk about reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, its fuel like biodiesel that we will need to turn to and Rappaport Energy is on the leading edge of this technology.’

The second phase of project construction will be a cogeneration plant and ethanol biorefinery, which will use waste streams collected from Vancouver and the metropolitan area as feedstock. Through its processes, the plant will convert waste into ethanol and co-products, and will use waste heat in generation of electricity.

Construction of the ethanol biorefinery is expected to take two years at an estimated cost of $150 million. Projections show that the plant will generate 20 megawatts of electricity and roughly 25 million gallons of ethanol. The project will be interconnected. Heat from the cogeneration plant will also be supplied to the biodiesel facility. That plant will supply surplus glycerin to the power plant for added fuel. The cogeneration plant will dispose of 240,000 tons of waste woody debris.

Marc Rappaport, head of Rappaport Energy Consulting LLC, has more than 25 years of experience in biomass energy and was founder of Biomass One, LP (White City, Ore.) in 1982. He served as managing partner at that facility, bringing the company to profitability.

The Port of Vancouver USA, created by Clark County taxpayers in 1912, is one of the major ports on the Pacific Coast. Its competitive strengths include available land, versatile cargo handling capabilities, vast transportation networks, a dependable labor force and an exceptional level of service to its customers and community.