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Author Topic: Explosion at jay me mill  (Read 6171 times)

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Offline snowstorm

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Explosion at jay me mill
« on: April 15, 2020, 04:22:22 PM »
There are some rather colorful video’s about it.one from inside a truck waiting to get on the scales.looked to be a lot of debris falling

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2020, 04:41:57 PM »
The digester blew up. Video on Bangor daily news

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2020, 05:15:49 PM »
I was at work,maybe a mile from all that. Had one guy on lunch, he came back with a video of the explosion.   :o   
I still can not understand why no one was killed. Lucky.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2020, 05:19:03 PM »
both digesters are gone my source says 24 months to build new ones

Offline dnash

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2020, 05:51:03 PM »
What does the digester do?
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Offline Maine logger88

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2020, 05:56:37 PM »
It turns chips into pulp
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2020, 06:24:00 PM »
So that tells me they can't make pulp?  :o
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2020, 06:41:52 PM »
no they cant. unless they buy pulp elsewhere. i asked about running sp fir groundwood. he said the paper would not be as strong as what they need

Offline repmma

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2020, 07:00:49 PM »
Old town aint up yet is it?  Thats strictly a pulp plant right?  Be alot of trucking!

24 months.  Jeepers. Thats if they rebuild.  Quite the blow to the wood industry in Maine, have done nothing but lost consumers of pulp.

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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2020, 07:03:19 PM »
Would give the higher ups a very good reason to close the mill.   :( 
    I am not much more than 15 minutes from the mill.  Sure would be a bad hit to this whole area.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2020, 07:16:14 PM »
I really thought this was to be the perfect early spring. What next?

Offline Ianab

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2020, 07:28:03 PM »
What does the digester do?
Imagine a big pressure cooker, full of woodchips? Add heat and pressure and it breaks the chips down into pulp. 
Or it goes boom... 
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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2020, 08:27:26 PM »
Old town is running and finally running well but it is no where near as big of a mill as jay. They make kraft there. Maybe pixelle will make a deal with ND to buy enough pulp from old town and rumford until they get it fixed. I’m just hoping they fix it even if it takes awhile
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Offline woodroe

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2020, 03:50:51 PM »
The wind was such that 15 miles away as the crow flies the smell from the
explosion was terrible. DW said whats that smell and I stepped out and said the Jay mill
even before I knew what happened.
Been in and out of that mill doing work for contractors hundreds of times in
a earlier life, so glad no one was in that area .

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2020, 09:50:57 AM »
Jay Mill explosion video: 
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2020, 01:26:31 PM »
I did not work at Jay but worked up the river in the former Berlin mill. The Jay mill has/had Kamyr Continuous Digesters. Many folks are confused that there was chemical explosion like dynamite. There was no chemical reaction, its just a tall pressure vessel full of chips, liquor and high pressure steam. Wood is mostly cellulose fibers which are strong but limp, what makes wood stiff is lignin which fills in the gaps around the cellulose. A very rough analogy is reinforced concrete, the cellulose is the rebar the lignin is the portland cement. The goal in the digester is to break the liquor away from the cellulose without degrading the cellulose strength. The "liquor" is caustic made with lime and chemicals that were recovered from the process. It dissolves the lignin while leaving the fiber alone. Going along for the ride are condensable and non condensable gases which are extracted during the cook and also come out with the cooked pulp. Some of the non condensable gases are in there in only small amounts but very noticeable at even small concentrations. They give a Kraft pulp mill a distinct odor. In a mill town that smell is regarded as the smell of money but to outsiders its very distinct.  

A swag on the steam pressure in the digester is 150 psi. Berlin had batch digesters which work very much like a pressure cooker, Fill them up with chips, liquor and steam, close the valves and then keep them hot for a period of time by adding steam as needed. Once they have "cooked" the pulp long enough, a valve is opened on the bottom and the contents are "blown" to an atmospheric tank. The mix of pulp, steam and liquor is blown through a small nozzle in a controlled manner. The Kamyr continuous digester is more complex than a pressure cooker where raw chips are fed on one end and cooked pulp comes out the other end while the digester is under pressure. Liquor through the chips is circulated in and out of the digester . Therefore there has be devices on either end to allow the chips to go in and the pulp to go out without letting the pressure escape. Compared to a batch digester the continuous digester is lot more complex with more stuff to go wrong. Since the digester is holding steam its regarded as a pressure vessel that had be be built and maintained to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code. That code was put in place around the time of steamboats as steamboats had boilers and on occasion they failed killing passengers and usually sinking the steamboat. The rules are strict and add a lot of cost to building pressure vessels but the trade off is they are normally safe. Folks with large compressor probably have seen the ASME cloverleaf on the data plate.

Pure speculation on my part is either the actual pressure vessel or one of the inlet assemblies on the top failed. Instead of a controlled release of pressurized brown stock and dirty liquor, the contents under pressure all tried to come out at the same time of what might be 20' diameter by 100 foot plus high pipe. All the liquid in the vessel would be above the atmospheric boiling point and it would flash to steam. When it flashes it take up more volume and thus the impressive dirty plume. This happens quickly so any solids in the tank go along for the ride. This causes thrust like a rocket engine but since the top failed the digester could not launch itself but what it could do is move sideways and damage the other digester.

The liquor is sticky and has lime component in it. It can leave a coating on whatever it lands on and its difficult to get off. Many of the mills have drive through car washes on the exit of the parking lot for employers to wash their vehicle at the end of shift, the water in th sprays has acetic acid (vinegar) mixed in with it to get to remove the lime scale that can collect on cars. Some mills hand out bottles to the employees to do it themselves. Most of Maine has acid soils so I expect the grass and local plants will look a bit greener this summer since the caustic lime liquor will buffer the aid in the soil. This dirty liquir used to be given away by the mills long ago and used to keep the dust down on dirt roads.When it was applied correctly it formed something akin to asphalt. The liquor will eventually make it to the river where its naturally broken down. This could be an issue in summer when the water is warm and does not hold much oxygen and is at a low flow but this time of year the water is cold and at a high flow so it should not be an issue. A legacy of the upper Androscoggin being an industrial sewer for a 100 years from Jay and the upstream mills is that there is a large hydroelectric empoundment called Gulf Island Pond  south of the mill that backs water all the way back up from just north of Lewiston. This pond has a 100 years of sludge that went in the river prior to the clean water act and at times the water in the pond does not have enough oxygen in it due to this rotting sludge so the upstream mills and Jay have an oxygen injection system in the river above the pond to add oxygen back in if need be, they could crank it up early. The actual pulp will rapidly rot and break down in the rain.  

The biggest issue is that the Jay mill has been struggling since IP (the original owner) transferred them to Verso Papers (the prior owner). They have been losing money and not making decent returns as the demand is not there for the type of paper they made. There are a lot of other mills in the same condition around the US, many have closed and the remaining ones are struggling for the remaining orders in the US. Paper is expensive to ship so its usually produced near where its needed and lot of the printers are now offshore. Just up the river is the Rumford mill with the same problems that was bought at a fire sale by Nine Dragons Paper who also bought the Old Town mill and at least one other in the US. They have grand plans and deep pockets but the last Chinese company that bought the old Woodland mill learned an expensive lesson that shipping pulp doesn't make sense, they now make towel and tissue parent rolls. Verso struggled for several years and eventually had to get a lot smaller before they went bankrupt (Verso was owned by hedge funds that normally want to dive in, make money and sell). The new owner Pixelle consists of several "orphan" mills competing for that much smaller market and they got Jay for the proverbial 10cents on a dollar or less. They were going to have to spend money to make the mill more competitive in the grades of paper that still have a market. They are now looking at a major 100 cents on dollar investment to get the mill running again. They probably had industrial risk insurance but that has major deductibles usually in the millions. Used continuous digesters are not available typically and even if they were they would need to be cut up and reassembled using the boiler code. They really need a set of new ones that will be custom built after they are designed. The pulp market varies year to year but they are probably not set up with the equipment and storage space to buy pulp even if they can find a nearby source (My guess is Northern Pulp Nova Scotia could supply them if NP can get their waste water permit straightened out). The initial claim is 24 months to get new digesters in place and operating. So the question is does Pixelle have the cash to cover the up front upgrades to put in a pulp feed line now and hopefully source pulp cheaply enough to make money on the paper they make?. The rational decision may be to walk away or give Nine Dragons a call and hope ND has deep enough pockets.


Offline Andries

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2020, 02:53:33 PM »
peakbagger; thank you!
That was great post, explaining the pulp and paper world from chemistry to business strategies.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2020, 04:32:05 PM »
I have to disagree on the mill not making money. I know some of the higher ups. And I know the outbound freight. They had converted to making food grade. Paper a while ago along with sugar packs. As it was said a couple yrs ago we are making real money now not just pushing numbers on paper. Was verso the nice guy. No when you put several billionaires together they are going to fight each other . Some of them wanted there money back. The co. Changed hands a while back but the name stayed the same. I do know they are looking for a source  for pulp. And yes that was in the newspaper my info comes from elsewhere. Food grade and cardboard is where it’s at

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2020, 07:13:22 PM »
More power to them if they figured out a way to make a buck. A big part of the profit and loss is debt on the books that the owners have to pay. I think Verso had a lot of debt, maybe Pixelle got it cheap so their debt load is lower. When Brookfield bought Berlin they sold the pulp mill, the papermill and the landfill for $1 to Fraser and kept the hydros which was why they bought it in the first place. It made it easy to do capital work at least at first until Fraser figured out they didnt know the wood market along the RT2 corridor and had to pay about 20$ more a ton for pulpwood than they planned.

I dont pay attention to the pulp market of late and that was the big driver for profits. When the Berlin pulp mill closed,pulp could be bought from South America, shipped to Berlin and loaded into our warehouse for less than we could make it. ND paper claims that China needs fiber and they plan to ship it from Maine so that implies the price of pulp is higher again. We actually tried to run some of the grease resistant food grades in Gorham that Jay runs using the Millinocket coater but the market wasnt there at the time.

The last gasp of GNP in both Millinocket on the big coated machine and East Millinocket on their machine was on purchased pulp. It didnt last long. A mill has to be integrated to make a buck in high volume markets.

I did work for small specialty mill a couple of years ago, their saying is other papermills sell paper by the ton, this place sold  it by the pound. They could afford to buy specialty pulp. Westbrook has the patents on their superembossed paper for making patterned vinyl. They can afford to buy pulp. Sappi cant afford to close the place down as they would have to clean it up.  

I switched to power plants when I was done in Berlin/Gorham, I have since worked as a consultant for two different papermill power projects and I still dont miss it. Unless someone has lived and worked in a mill town they would never realize how much "the mill" impacts everyone's lives. It can be hard nasty work, the workers are well paid but it takes a toll on them and their families.  

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2020, 07:48:03 PM »
I have no idea who said it, but there no shaking of the earth.  :( When all this happen I was only a mile from it, working. I work in a hardware store, no machines to drown out the noise. The Big Boss was outside cleaning and he came inside and told me to come here. I knew something was wrong. I went out with him and saw some smoke, kinda like what would come out of a chimney was all that was left. I never felt of heard anything and I asked him the same thing. He only heard a rumble and looked and saw that big plum of smoke. So fake noise on feeling the earth move.
But there was a lot of fibers coming down. I went home and washed my truck. Even at 40 mph,it did not blow off. I suppose that was the black liquor "burned" into the paint. One customers comes into the store and I bet he will get a free paint job on his car. It did burn the paint. He has small dots, like pencil dots, all over his car.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2020, 07:48:19 PM »
Verso sold the hydro dam in jay a few yrs ago. To please the investors maybe. Seemed like a poor move. With the Bucksport mill they sold it to the scarp co. The story was they offered a million more than a paper co. Was willing to pay. If it hadn’t been torn down would it be running today? Maybe. There Luke mill they told management to do what there were told they didn’t so it was shut down.seems like the price for the jay mill and Stevens point mill was 400 million

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2020, 07:51:15 PM »
Was that Eagle Creek? They come into the store almost daily to buy stuff.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2020, 09:33:41 PM »
Was that Eagle Creek? They come into the store almost daily to buy stuff.
In-fact,
They have Riley, Jay & Livermore under one Federal hydro license.
Otis is under its own Federal license.
They are also all Low Impact Hydro Institute certified which provides green power credit opportunities.
For years, paper plants have split off their hydro asset's,
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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2020, 10:28:22 PM »
Was it the digester or the recovery boiler that blew in Lincoln?  Can't remember but that was the final nail in the coffin there for sure. Hopefully not the same result this time.  
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2020, 09:11:12 AM »
It was recovery boiler at Lincoln. It put the final nail in the coffin on what was a very scary place to work. They had been putting patches on patches on patches for years. The state of Maine effectively looked the other way environmentally. Luckily no one was killed.

The pretty much universal political approach for those old struggling mills was for the current governor to do what they can to keep the place open until a new governor gets elected. Baldacci did it with GNP and LePage just gave up on it, same with Madison. Hopefully Madison will restart production making the wood based insulation board next spring but who knows as its risky bet with all sorts of creative financing. The company that was going to make cross laminated timber (CLT) at Lincoln is on hold currently as the mill has to be huge to compete and lots of other rural areas of the country want the same economic shot in the arm. The Millinockets are effectively screwed, there was a proposal for a CLT mill in Millinocket but the next to last owner of the mill saddled it with a big undischargable IRS lien so until that is cleared up its a big superfund site despite being ideally situated for a CLT mill with the currently not so Golden Road running right in the front gate. The East Millinocket mill has some of the bits and pieces but lacking a lot of stuff to make a pulp mill. Most estimates these days are about a billion to build a new pulp mill, optimistically the east mill might need 750 million.  Both mills also discharge into the west branch of the Penobscot and their permits are long since out of date. I expect the tribe downstream would raise a lot of hell if there as an attempt to put a big industrial discharge back in the river. I expect Matt Polstein would also crank up the rhetoric so he can continue his long pursuit of the tourist based economy in the region which has mostly benefited a couple business owners including himself.

One of the only reasons Old Town was restarted was that Old Town blew up their recovery about 20 to 25 years ago. They basically had to start from scratch so they have a fairly new recovery. I am unsure about the rest of the facility but the Lime Kiln was in miserable shape and even if it is replaced, its way too short with no room to expand so its an energy hog. I dont know if ND has figured a way around the Koch Brothers deed restriction on paper production at the facility. The pulp mill was always just too small to make sense as a market mill so an integrated mill making a niche product is its best use.  The claim in the press is they want to make pulp out of hemlock which may be a good niche, its not as strong as spruce/fir and loaded with sclereids but might be fine for cardboard boxes. ND claims they are going to put in a big cardboard recycling facility in Rumford, that is contrary to most thinking as generally cardboard recycling is done as close to population centers as possible. Bob Kraft of Patriot's fame owns several recycled cardboard plants and they are all right next door to large population centers. The actual recyclable fiber in a box is usually in the 50% range so ND is paying to haul 50% of the weight of truck with stuff they need to landfill. There is also crappy connections to major highways and population centers. A prior owner sold the hydros so they do not necessarily have cheap power anymore and recycling fiber requires lots of horsepower. East Millinocket tried this gambit and it never worked out. The building is still there but all the equipment is long gone. I think the Cascades recycling plant in Auburn is also long gone.    

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2020, 06:56:53 AM »
could you add to the koch brothers story?? never heard about that. sounds interesting

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2020, 12:54:34 PM »
Mind blowing amount of info.  Thank you so much mr peakbagger for the time and years that took to learn and share with us layman.  I much appreciate it.
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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2020, 09:12:23 PM »
could you add to the koch brothers story?? never heard about that. sounds interesting
Georgia Pacific at one point had gone private purchased by the Koch Brothers. GP had bought Fort James a merger of the former James River and Fort Howard. Both were drowning in debt. One of the Koch's toured the new assets and dumped any operation that was non strategic or not making money, Old Town was both. GP didnt want the competition or see the tissue machines moved elsewhere so they paid to have them destroyed and removed by scrappers. Nothing could be sold except as scrap. A contractor I knew at the time was taking brand new equipment and permanently damaging it so it could not be used again. The claim is GP didnt want to clean up the pulp mill and had no use for it so they sold it to a specially set up state of Maine supported corporation, Red Shield, to run it as a pulp mil. The claim was the deed for the facility has a clause that no paper can be produced at the facility. I never cared to chase it down but some say its "forever" others say its for some limited duration (My guess is its limited duration).
Lynn Tilton stepped in next to try to run it and she connected up with U Maine and an independent researcher to pilot various processes to grab various valuable byproducts from the liquor prior to burning it in the recovery. The one that caught the presses eye was making Jet Fuel. Even she admitted quietly that to get the economies of scale required a much larger facility. She eventually gave up and one more clueless company came in and learned the same lesson that it was fundamentally a losing proposition. They were going to sell it to the same scrapper as Buckport but that got delayed. When they closed the pulp mill they didnt mothball it, they just sent every one home. It cost ND a bundle to get it running again and I expect that they still have some surprises from damage that occurred while it was down.
There was an attempt by one group to put in a combined heat and power plant to support the University but they lost out to another firm.    

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2020, 09:50:59 PM »
Thanks for all the info peakbagger I have always been interested in stuff like that the history of them! So old town was a tissue mill back in the GP and great works days? I’m glad ND bought it and hope they can make a go of it we need all the mills we can get at the moment. What about twin rivers I know the paper mill is on the US side of the river  and the pulp mill is on the New Brunswick side kind of a odd setup. I wonder if all there wood comes from Canada or if some comes from the us as well
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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2020, 08:06:35 AM »
Old Town was always a tissue mill until GP closed them down. There was big push 30 plus years ago to "save the trees" by folks that did not realize that trees are crop. The response was minimum recycled content rules. That shifted the economics of papermills to putting them close to the place where the recycled fiber was produced to cut down on trucking costs. It killed a lot of the small virgin fiber mills out in the country. If a company was going to spend the big money on converting to recycling they just built a new mill closer to the city.

Twin Rivers is a sad story. It was part of Fraser and at one point had a lot of Crown leases on timberland  in Canada and outright ownership of a lot of land in far northern Maine. They got bought out by Brookfield out of Toronto.  Brookfield slowly stripped the assets of Fraser and sucked the money into the investors pockets. They stripped it clean including all the land in Maine which they sold to Irving along with the Crown leases in NB. The Madawaska mill was regarded as the Siberia of Fraser and no one from outside wanted to work there. Several employment headhunters made a lot of money placing folks up there in the spring and frequently the new employees were gone by the next spring. The mill was run by a brute called Bert Martin who had worked his way up the ranks and was threatened by any one with a degree. The result was he had a bunch of yes men surrounding him. When Brookfield bought GNP to strip the hydros off of it they handed the mills over to what was left of Fraser and Bert Martin had a new toy to play with. He promised Fraser he could restart the Millinocket mill for 50 million but it was a number he pulled out of his butt. When the numbers came up to 100 million he pivoted to renting a run down pulp mill in Port Cartier Quebec to supply pulp to the big papermachine in Millinocket. The problem was Port Cartier was on the wrong side of the Saint Laurence river and transportation was killing Katahdin. They also had the same problem that Jay will have, they didnt have the pulpers in place to repulp all the pulp coming in from elsewhere. I saw the creativity they was used at Katahdin paper and it was not pretty and definitely not efficient.

The only reason Twin Rivers exists is that the New Brunswick government needs the jobs and Irving who bought the Maine lands and the Crown lands needs a place to get rid of low grade wood. The province subsidizes the pulp mill as needed to keep it open and that keeps the papermachines running on the Maine side of the river.

That gambit didnt work so Bert hooked up with a buddy of his who was scrap merchant and started tearing down the Millinocket mill to pay the bills. It was rumored that Bert got a commission. Fraser finally got rid of him but he and his cronies popped up again at Red Shield. One of his lieutenants ended up a consultant for various state governors.

Its pretty sad what happened to the industry in the region. In the 1960s and even into the eighties places like GNP, Rumford, Woodland and Champion had more orders than they could handle. I was in group one night which included a former GNP management guy. He talked about the good old days when the buyers from the New York newspapers would come up to sign the contract for a years worth of paper. The company would bring up some high class entertainment ("escorts") to entertain the buyers and after a couple days of drinking at the company lodge they would agree on a price increase and the mill would have an order for the next year. The clean water act killed a lot of the mills as the money normally spent on upgrades went into major environmental work. The companies started to realize they could build brand new mills down south for far less and not worry about unions so they slowly started dumping the northern mills when they could.   

Offline Southside

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2020, 08:53:24 AM »
Have not been to Madtown in probably 20 years, sad to hear about that.  Why do I suspect that "talent" didn't make the journey from "La Casa"?  :D
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2020, 10:24:54 AM »
Speaking of La Casa, there was an article a few years ago about someone who bought the place somewhat site unseen. He claimed that when he opened the door that the place was like the prior owner just walked away the night before. The bar was stocked, kegs were hooked up, dishes were in the sink. No doubt I expect the escorts for buyer negotiations were imported into the area compared to the local "ladies". 

I had a chance to stay in the GNP company house in Millinocket once during a last gasp effort at saving the East Mill one more time. Off to the side of the main house was an addition with a big meeting room. The walls and windows were all trimmed out in birdseye maple and wood paneling. It definitely had a sixties "Mad Men" vibe. I think it finally got sold to pay some bills. I only got to go in the big office building at the mill entrance once and it was via a backdoor. I was up at the East mill for three days and worked all weekend to pull together a report, Monday morning rolls around and the boss calls and tells me to stop all work. Wednesday morning the East Mill went bankrupt for the last time. I roamed that place for three days with it totally empty, kind of scary in spots. I am surprised it has not been used for a set of Steven King movie. 

Offline woodroe

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2020, 01:14:42 PM »
Not related to the explosion but 1/2 dozen years ago, maybe more I happened to be 
working at the jay mill for a contractor when a disgruntled ex-employee walked into the mill managers office
armed with a loaded shotgun and revolver. A hostage situation ensued and the whole mill went into lockdown , no one could come in or leave for about 15 hrs or so. 700 people held hostage by 1 man .They did bring in some pizza for everyone about 7 PM. 
Police swat teams could be seen riding around in the back of pick ups. The guy finally surrendered late in the evening.

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2020, 02:08:35 PM »
My prediction and I cant revival  my source 
Top secret.  They will truck pulp from a few hunered miles west of here. And maybe some will come from not to far away. We will see what happens

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2020, 02:25:07 PM »
I am surprised it has not been used for a set of Steven King movie.


The old wool mill in Harmony was used for one of the scenes in Pet Semetary 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2020, 11:29:15 PM »
My prediction is 9dragons ends up with it and eventually closes it down for good.
Revelation 3:20

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2020, 06:20:48 AM »
My prediction is 9dragons ends up with it and eventually closes it down for good.
not likely 

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2020, 09:26:07 AM »
Market pulp is available, its just how much a mill pays for it and what sort of margin they make on the product they make with it. In a tight pulp market where pulp prices are high, the integrated mill with its own pulp supply is "king" they can sell the final product for less than what a non integrated mill can. We saw that in Berlin in 1987, pulp prices were historically high and we actually could sell the pulp for more profit than we made off the paper made in the adjacent Gorham mill (which was attached to the pulp mill via 10,000 foot pipelines). The overall facility made 130 million in one year which was a good chunk of change in that era. Those record high pulp prices led to all sorts of new pulping capacity going on line. The Canadian government decided that market pulp mills in remote areas were a good employment boost so they financed several major market pulp expansions and allowed the papermaking unions to invest their pension money. James River was looking at spending just shy of a billion in Berlin. The future for pulp was so bright the industry had to wear shades. Unfortunately way more capacity came on line in North American with a lot more from South America and the pulp market crashed in about 3 years and never really came back.  Several of the Canadian market mills crashed or were seriously weakened as they couldn't pay the debt.

In times of low pulp prices the non integrated mills have the best deal, they can pick and choose their pulp suppliers and buy from a company that is just desperate to keep the lights on.

Jay does have access to a deepwater port via rail to bring in pulp. I don't know if they have the local storage and repulping capacity. The goal is to automate the process and handle the bales to the minimum extent possible. Usually that means a large on site warehouse with a large bale conveyor line. Bales are pulled from the rail cars, stored and then loaded on a bale line that has a lot of storage capacity (its just a long conveyor system) The bale line conveys the bales to a pulper, strips the wires holding the bale together and feeds the pulper at a steady rate. The pulper adds water recycled from the process and agitates the pulp until it breaks down into fiber and then the slurry is pumped to a thickener and then pumped via a specialized thick stock pump to high density storage. They have washers that can be used as thickeners, thick stock pumps and high density storage so they just need pulpers. Unless they find a stash of used pulpers in a closed down mill, figure 12 to 18 months to get new ones running. Same with the bale line. GNP used a bunch of the on machine pulpers on old papermachines that were shut down (they had a whole line of them). It was not very efficient but it got them running. Jay also in pinch could buy brown pulp if anyone is making it and bleach it on site.

This all costs money and time and a level of patience from Pixelle's private equity owners. Sure they can haul in pulp from the recently acquired Stevens Point WI mill but its going to cost them a bundle to ship. Most predictions are the Canadian dollar is going to stay low due to the collapse of the oil industry so the logical supplier is Northern Pulp Nova Scotia (owned by a large Indonesian company) that is currently idled that would love to supply cut rate pulp with a low Canadian dollar. They could load it on a ship, bring it down to Portland or Searsport and then rail it up Jay.        

Offline gspren

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2020, 10:40:15 AM »
I've been following along and thinking about our local paper mill, Spring Grove, PA and thinking of the difference in smell when I go past now compared to 40 years ago, quite a change. I've hunted near Lake Molunkus, ME a few times and was even forced into a few trips to La Casa, long ago.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2020, 11:51:00 AM »
The first truck load will arrive in a few days

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2020, 06:50:30 PM »
My prediction is 9dragons ends up with it and eventually closes it down for good.
not likely
What do i win if it goes that way, against the odds? 
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Offline Southside

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2020, 10:51:21 PM »
I suspect chinese firms will have a hard time buying any US asserts for the foreseeable future.  
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Offline barbender

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2020, 11:38:00 PM »
I sure hope so, we're sleeping with the enemy imo.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2020, 06:56:15 AM »
i try not to buy stuff made in china and that includes a lot of parts from napa. on the other hand there are 3 paper mills here that are china owned. and they seem to be going well. so is that better than a company like say verso that is owned by a few billionaires that only care about how much cash they get and how fast. they junked a mill rather than sell it to the compatiton 

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2020, 10:28:41 AM »
I've been following along and thinking about our local paper mill, Spring Grove, PA and thinking of the difference in smell when I go past now compared to 40 years ago, quite a change. I've hunted near Lake Molunkus, ME a few times and was even forced into a few trips to La Casa, long ago.
I used to spend a couple of million of James Rivers money a year getting rid of the smell from a pulp mill. There was a set of EPA rules usually referred to as the "Cluster Rules" 20 years ago that made big dent in the smell from a pulp mill. It doomed some mills as it was too expensive to comply with but the ones that could afford it ended up with a lot less odor. 

Offline David-L

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2020, 06:16:04 AM »
I did not work at Jay but worked up the river in the former Berlin mill. The Jay mill has/had Kamyr Continuous Digesters. Many folks are confused that there was chemical explosion like dynamite. There was no chemical reaction, its just a tall pressure vessel full of chips, liquor and high pressure steam. Wood is mostly cellulose fibers which are strong but limp, what makes wood stiff is lignin which fills in the gaps around the cellulose. A very rough analogy is reinforced concrete, the cellulose is the rebar the lignin is the portland cement. The goal in the digester is to break the liquor away from the cellulose without degrading the cellulose strength. The "liquor" is caustic made with lime and chemicals that were recovered from the process. It dissolves the lignin while leaving the fiber alone. Going along for the ride are condensable and non condensable gases which are extracted during the cook and also come out with the cooked pulp. Some of the non condensable gases are in there in only small amounts but very noticeable at even small concentrations. They give a Kraft pulp mill a distinct odor. In a mill town that smell is regarded as the smell of money but to outsiders its very distinct.  

A swag on the steam pressure in the digester is 150 psi. Berlin had batch digesters which work very much like a pressure cooker, Fill them up with chips, liquor and steam, close the valves and then keep them hot for a period of time by adding steam as needed. Once they have "cooked" the pulp long enough, a valve is opened on the bottom and the contents are "blown" to an atmospheric tank. The mix of pulp, steam and liquor is blown through a small nozzle in a controlled manner. The Kamyr continuous digester is more complex than a pressure cooker where raw chips are fed on one end and cooked pulp comes out the other end while the digester is under pressure. Liquor through the chips is circulated in and out of the digester . Therefore there has be devices on either end to allow the chips to go in and the pulp to go out without letting the pressure escape. Compared to a batch digester the continuous digester is lot more complex with more stuff to go wrong. Since the digester is holding steam its regarded as a pressure vessel that had be be built and maintained to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code. That code was put in place around the time of steamboats as steamboats had boilers and on occasion they failed killing passengers and usually sinking the steamboat. The rules are strict and add a lot of cost to building pressure vessels but the trade off is they are normally safe. Folks with large compressor probably have seen the ASME cloverleaf on the data plate.

Pure speculation on my part is either the actual pressure vessel or one of the inlet assemblies on the top failed. Instead of a controlled release of pressurized brown stock and dirty liquor, the contents under pressure all tried to come out at the same time of what might be 20' diameter by 100 foot plus high pipe. All the liquid in the vessel would be above the atmospheric boiling point and it would flash to steam. When it flashes it take up more volume and thus the impressive dirty plume. This happens quickly so any solids in the tank go along for the ride. This causes thrust like a rocket engine but since the top failed the digester could not launch itself but what it could do is move sideways and damage the other digester.

The liquor is sticky and has lime component in it. It can leave a coating on whatever it lands on and its difficult to get off. Many of the mills have drive through car washes on the exit of the parking lot for employers to wash their vehicle at the end of shift, the water in th sprays has acetic acid (vinegar) mixed in with it to get to remove the lime scale that can collect on cars. Some mills hand out bottles to the employees to do it themselves. Most of Maine has acid soils so I expect the grass and local plants will look a bit greener this summer since the caustic lime liquor will buffer the aid in the soil. This dirty liquir used to be given away by the mills long ago and used to keep the dust down on dirt roads.When it was applied correctly it formed something akin to asphalt. The liquor will eventually make it to the river where its naturally broken down. This could be an issue in summer when the water is warm and does not hold much oxygen and is at a low flow but this time of year the water is cold and at a high flow so it should not be an issue. A legacy of the upper Androscoggin being an industrial sewer for a 100 years from Jay and the upstream mills is that there is a large hydroelectric empoundment called Gulf Island Pond  south of the mill that backs water all the way back up from just north of Lewiston. This pond has a 100 years of sludge that went in the river prior to the clean water act and at times the water in the pond does not have enough oxygen in it due to this rotting sludge so the upstream mills and Jay have an oxygen injection system in the river above the pond to add oxygen back in if need be, they could crank it up early. The actual pulp will rapidly rot and break down in the rain.  

The biggest issue is that the Jay mill has been struggling since IP (the original owner) transferred them to Verso Papers (the prior owner). They have been losing money and not making decent returns as the demand is not there for the type of paper they made. There are a lot of other mills in the same condition around the US, many have closed and the remaining ones are struggling for the remaining orders in the US. Paper is expensive to ship so its usually produced near where its needed and lot of the printers are now offshore. Just up the river is the Rumford mill with the same problems that was bought at a fire sale by Nine Dragons Paper who also bought the Old Town mill and at least one other in the US. They have grand plans and deep pockets but the last Chinese company that bought the old Woodland mill learned an expensive lesson that shipping pulp doesn't make sense, they now make towel and tissue parent rolls. Verso struggled for several years and eventually had to get a lot smaller before they went bankrupt (Verso was owned by hedge funds that normally want to dive in, make money and sell). The new owner Pixelle consists of several "orphan" mills competing for that much smaller market and they got Jay for the proverbial 10cents on a dollar or less. They were going to have to spend money to make the mill more competitive in the grades of paper that still have a market. They are now looking at a major 100 cents on dollar investment to get the mill running again. They probably had industrial risk insurance but that has major deductibles usually in the millions. Used continuous digesters are not available typically and even if they were they would need to be cut up and reassembled using the boiler code. They really need a set of new ones that will be custom built after they are designed. The pulp market varies year to year but they are probably not set up with the equipment and storage space to buy pulp even if they can find a nearby source (My guess is Northern Pulp Nova Scotia could supply them if NP can get their waste water permit straightened out). The initial claim is 24 months to get new digesters in place and operating. So the question is does Pixelle have the cash to cover the up front upgrades to put in a pulp feed line now and hopefully source pulp cheaply enough to make money on the paper they make?. The rational decision may be to walk away or give Nine Dragons a call and hope ND has deep enough pockets.
Thanks for that Tutorial, I had a contract with them and getting rid of that nasty pine for us loggers was crucial down here for me as it opened up the door for jobs that now I will have to shy away from as there is always pulp. Can't afford to pay stumpage for the good lots like the big guys do so I feel really bad for all those that were shipping there like me ( small operators). I could send a load of 8' and if I loaded the truck tight with 35 Ton that was at least 900$ for me. The trucker also made that and I was fine with it. This is really gonna hurt, glad I am winding down from the logging game, In reality I am glad no one was hurt. A sad story for the wood industry. I was in zone 11 200 plus miles away.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2020, 07:13:35 AM »
a few days ago pulp was on the road from there mills in ohio and pa. to jay. the word was they were talking to nd about buying from them. also heard sappi was selling  sw pulp to them

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2020, 08:51:33 PM »
glad to hear it is still going to keep folks working
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2020, 08:14:18 AM »
I saw some steam and smoke coming out of the stacks when I was on the Hyde Road!!!
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2020, 09:55:54 AM »
My speculation from afar is they are going to run the machines to fill out orders on baled pulp. Every papermachine usually has a niche product where it runs the best so unless they can switch another machine elsewhere in the company over to that grade of paper, they need to run the machines as long as they can make profit off the paper.

Offline dgdrls

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2020, 07:19:31 AM »



According to this report two of three machines are running and politicians are offering to help as much as they can.
Sen. Collins Visit

Another report   Pulp
"Officials said pulp from Pixelle mills in Ohio and Pennsylvania is being sent to the Jay mill to fulfill orders. The company is also buying supplemental pulp to meet demand."

Between slow housing starts and this explosion I sure feel for the local loggers and trucking,

D

Offline JesseA

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2020, 02:46:28 PM »
Regarding the Nine dragons plants in rumford and old town, there’s a bunch o parts in old town waiting to get stuck into place in rumford, they’re just waiting for time to do it, last numbers I heard we’re 190 days of outages scheduled for 2020 in rumford but that was in December. ND broke up the bid packages that had been approved into lots of little ones and sent them out for bid again.  

Cianbro, Sullivan and Merritt, fastco, southernfield and several other contractors have been in and out of the old town mill for more than a year patching that place up.  They have had rotten run with making the digesters work appropriately after they were altered to make jet fuel in the Red Shield period in the 2010s.  The place is a mess and while I was there we were into the evaporators because they had shot wood chips into them.  Under no circumstances should chips be in the evaporators just before the liquor goes into the recovery boiler.  
Wood chips in the raw water, wood chips in the filtered water, wood chips showing up unexpectedly in waste water treatment.  

I’d been suspecting some level of ongoing operations sabotage since they brought the guy that designed the pulp mill operating programs, and for two weeks the pulp mill ran without too many issues then he left and the problems basically came right back. 

when I was last in old town (January) the lime kiln was effectively the only part of the mill that was working reliably. 

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2020, 07:41:44 AM »
Looks like the layoffs have started. The news said it would be the fourth quarter at the earliest before the company has a long term plan for pulping.

Offline Maine logger88

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #53 on: July 12, 2020, 09:26:37 AM »
It took a lot longer for them to lay people off than I thought but I guess they had some people on cleanup. I heard there waiting to see how the election goes before making a decision whether there is any truth to that idk. I also see sappi shut down a machine in Westbrook and part of there power plant
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #54 on: July 12, 2020, 06:53:46 PM »
Jay is waiting on a insurance check for a new dijester or 2????

Offline JesseA

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2020, 12:18:10 PM »
Cianbro is at jay with a big crane and a crew working with insurance investigators cutting out one piece and getting out of the way.  

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2020, 08:39:31 AM »
The Boston Globe today has a "death of mill town" article. Its behind a paywall so I have not read it (but have read several others for the Millinockets, Madison, Bucksport and Berlin. They usually follow a standard script.  

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2020, 12:25:21 PM »
I read it this morning.
Things are changing in the woods of New England 
It won't be good for the loggers.
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Offline jdatwood

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #58 on: August 29, 2020, 10:49:42 AM »
I did not work at Jay but worked up the river in the former Berlin mill. The Jay mill has/had Kamyr Continuous Digesters. Many folks are confused that there was chemical explosion like dynamite. There was no chemical reaction, its just a tall pressure vessel full of chips, liquor and high pressure steam. Wood is mostly cellulose fibers which are strong but limp, what makes wood stiff is lignin which fills in the gaps around the cellulose. A very rough analogy is reinforced concrete, the cellulose is the rebar the lignin is the portland cement. The goal in the digester is to break the liquor away from the cellulose without degrading the cellulose strength. The "liquor" is caustic made with lime and chemicals that were recovered from the process. It dissolves the lignin while leaving the fiber alone. Going along for the ride are condensable and non condensable gases which are extracted during the cook and also come out with the cooked pulp. Some of the non condensable gases are in there in only small amounts but very noticeable at even small concentrations. They give a Kraft pulp mill a distinct odor. In a mill town that smell is regarded as the smell of money but to outsiders its very distinct.  

A swag on the steam pressure in the digester is 150 psi. Berlin had batch digesters which work very much like a pressure cooker, Fill them up with chips, liquor and steam, close the valves and then keep them hot for a period of time by adding steam as needed. Once they have "cooked" the pulp long enough, a valve is opened on the bottom and the contents are "blown" to an atmospheric tank. The mix of pulp, steam and liquor is blown through a small nozzle in a controlled manner. The Kamyr continuous digester is more complex than a pressure cooker where raw chips are fed on one end and cooked pulp comes out the other end while the digester is under pressure. Liquor through the chips is circulated in and out of the digester . Therefore there has be devices on either end to allow the chips to go in and the pulp to go out without letting the pressure escape. Compared to a batch digester the continuous digester is lot more complex with more stuff to go wrong. Since the digester is holding steam its regarded as a pressure vessel that had be be built and maintained to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code. That code was put in place around the time of steamboats as steamboats had boilers and on occasion they failed killing passengers and usually sinking the steamboat. The rules are strict and add a lot of cost to building pressure vessels but the trade off is they are normally safe. Folks with large compressor probably have seen the ASME cloverleaf on the data plate.

Pure speculation on my part is either the actual pressure vessel or one of the inlet assemblies on the top failed. Instead of a controlled release of pressurized brown stock and dirty liquor, the contents under pressure all tried to come out at the same time of what might be 20' diameter by 100 foot plus high pipe. All the liquid in the vessel would be above the atmospheric boiling point and it would flash to steam. When it flashes it take up more volume and thus the impressive dirty plume. This happens quickly so any solids in the tank go along for the ride. This causes thrust like a rocket engine but since the top failed the digester could not launch itself but what it could do is move sideways and damage the other digester.

The liquor is sticky and has lime component in it. It can leave a coating on whatever it lands on and its difficult to get off. Many of the mills have drive through car washes on the exit of the parking lot for employers to wash their vehicle at the end of shift, the water in th sprays has acetic acid (vinegar) mixed in with it to get to remove the lime scale that can collect on cars. Some mills hand out bottles to the employees to do it themselves. Most of Maine has acid soils so I expect the grass and local plants will look a bit greener this summer since the caustic lime liquor will buffer the aid in the soil. This dirty liquir used to be given away by the mills long ago and used to keep the dust down on dirt roads.When it was applied correctly it formed something akin to asphalt. The liquor will eventually make it to the river where its naturally broken down. This could be an issue in summer when the water is warm and does not hold much oxygen and is at a low flow but this time of year the water is cold and at a high flow so it should not be an issue. A legacy of the upper Androscoggin being an industrial sewer for a 100 years from Jay and the upstream mills is that there is a large hydroelectric empoundment called Gulf Island Pond  south of the mill that backs water all the way back up from just north of Lewiston. This pond has a 100 years of sludge that went in the river prior to the clean water act and at times the water in the pond does not have enough oxygen in it due to this rotting sludge so the upstream mills and Jay have an oxygen injection system in the river above the pond to add oxygen back in if need be, they could crank it up early. The actual pulp will rapidly rot and break down in the rain.  

The biggest issue is that the Jay mill has been struggling since IP (the original owner) transferred them to Verso Papers (the prior owner). They have been losing money and not making decent returns as the demand is not there for the type of paper they made. There are a lot of other mills in the same condition around the US, many have closed and the remaining ones are struggling for the remaining orders in the US. Paper is expensive to ship so its usually produced near where its needed and lot of the printers are now offshore. Just up the river is the Rumford mill with the same problems that was bought at a fire sale by Nine Dragons Paper who also bought the Old Town mill and at least one other in the US. They have grand plans and deep pockets but the last Chinese company that bought the old Woodland mill learned an expensive lesson that shipping pulp doesn't make sense, they now make towel and tissue parent rolls. Verso struggled for several years and eventually had to get a lot smaller before they went bankrupt (Verso was owned by hedge funds that normally want to dive in, make money and sell). The new owner Pixelle consists of several "orphan" mills competing for that much smaller market and they got Jay for the proverbial 10cents on a dollar or less. They were going to have to spend money to make the mill more competitive in the grades of paper that still have a market. They are now looking at a major 100 cents on dollar investment to get the mill running again. They probably had industrial risk insurance but that has major deductibles usually in the millions. Used continuous digesters are not available typically and even if they were they would need to be cut up and reassembled using the boiler code. They really need a set of new ones that will be custom built after they are designed. The pulp market varies year to year but they are probably not set up with the equipment and storage space to buy pulp even if they can find a nearby source (My guess is Northern Pulp Nova Scotia could supply them if NP can get their waste water permit straightened out). The initial claim is 24 months to get new digesters in place and operating. So the question is does Pixelle have the cash to cover the up front upgrades to put in a pulp feed line now and hopefully source pulp cheaply enough to make money on the paper they make?. The rational decision may be to walk away or give Nine Dragons a call and hope ND has deep enough pockets.
My money for the root cause would be build up of NCG’s that were ignited by a mechanical issue in the top separator. Happened in Florida years ago, same result. You can see the flames in one of the videos. Steam/pressure explosions don’t make fire balls...

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #59 on: August 29, 2020, 01:04:37 PM »
I used to deal with NCGs at a nearby mill in a past career. NCGs are nasty stuff but tend to have low flame speed. Unless they had a gas receiver with a very large volume of gas it would be hard to envision a real explosion, the NCGs probably contributed to the problem but probably did not set it off.

The difference with southern kraft mills and northern kraft mills is pine. Unless Jay changed their procurement practices in the last 10 years to bring in pine, I think they were buying spruce and fir. The difference between the pine and spruce/fir is turpentine. Pine has it spruce/fir doesnt. Turpentine is "rocket fuel" compared to NCGs. Its a major PITA to deal with it. The vapor will travel all through the process and condense out in the strangest places. When it condenses, separates out and floats on water. It can in the right conditions create sparks while flowing as liquid. We had a 300 foot high stack hooked up indirectly to the sewer and it blew a couple of smoke rings on occasion. If they had switched to pine recently and didnt have the right systems in place, then yes that could be a big problem.

My pure speculation is still a pressure part failure, but expect the gang of federal, state, insurance and third party folks that went through the place (and may still be) and the records with a fine tooth comb will look at every thing.    

Offline jdatwood

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #60 on: August 31, 2020, 07:28:03 AM »
I used to deal with NCGs at a nearby mill in a past career. NCGs are nasty stuff but tend to have low flame speed. Unless they had a gas receiver with a very large volume of gas it would be hard to envision a real explosion, the NCGs probably contributed to the problem but probably did not set it off.

The difference with southern kraft mills and northern kraft mills is pine. Unless Jay changed their procurement practices in the last 10 years to bring in pine, I think they were buying spruce and fir. The difference between the pine and spruce/fir is turpentine. Pine has it spruce/fir doesnt. Turpentine is "rocket fuel" compared to NCGs. Its a major PITA to deal with it. The vapor will travel all through the process and condense out in the strangest places. When it condenses, separates out and floats on water. It can in the right conditions create sparks while flowing as liquid. We had a 300 foot high stack hooked up indirectly to the sewer and it blew a couple of smoke rings on occasion. If they had switched to pine recently and didnt have the right systems in place, then yes that could be a big problem.

My pure speculation is still a pressure part failure, but expect the gang of federal, state, insurance and third party folks that went through the place (and may still be) and the records with a fine tooth comb will look at every thing.    
It’ll certainly be interesting, my understanding of the IP Cantonment mill in Florida is the NCG’s built up after an outage and caused the explosion. The vapor phase of the digester is essentially a large gas receiver so it’ll hold a charge of explosive gases should the scrubber system not be clearing out out to the collection system or venting to atmosphere. It sounds as though the Jay digester was down for a bit that morning making it even more plausible. NCG’s and HVLC’s are a great alternative “free” fuel source To incinerate in the kiln or power boiler. We’ve had a few digester overpressure events at work and the safeties pop off and burp the vessel, make a big mess and we move on. I just sure hope for the community they rebuild. In Lincoln they put on a good show until the insurance check was cut then they walked away from that dump with a check much bigger than anything that place was worth. My fear is that’ll happen there, but we’ll see. I’m with you on the turpentine being nasty stuff, my least favorite area to work in as an E/I guy 🤢🤢🤢


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