Wind River Circular Systems consists of the Wind River Biomass Utility and Gorge Greens, all of which make up the Wind River Project. Our goal is to give waste wood value and turn it into heat and power for year-round food production, along with firewood, wood chips and biochar as resulting products from the processes. We strive for 100% efficiency in utilizing all aspects of our environment to benefit the community without any waste.
In a county that is 99% forested, waste wood is inevitable and often expensive for land managers to address. Wind River Biomass Utility buys the waste wood biomass, giving it value. From there, we can process the biomass to produce a variety of energy and agricultural products. Once fully operational, our Combined Heat & Power facility located at the Wind River Business Park in Stabler, Washington will provide Electrical Power, Thermal Power to our Aquaponic Greenhouses, Biochar, Wood Chips and Kiln dried Firewood. To find out more about our company, we invite you to watch this brief video.
The buzz about the Wind River Project:
“This project will create new jobs and open the door for new markets and business opportunities in one of the most economically disadvantaged rural economies in the Pacific Northwest”
Governor, State of Washington
“The partners in this enterprise are USFS retirees, a retired engineer, and current owner-operator of a large wood-fuel business. They have each lived in Skamania County for more than 30 years and have been actively involved in forest issues. We feel this combination bodes well for the success of this project.”
Curtis King, Norm Johnson, & Gina McCabe
14th Legislative District Representatives, State of Washington
We grow Oregon Tilth-certified organic microgreens year-round in our hoophouse that demonstrates some of the technology we plan on using for our larger Dutch-style greenhouse complex. Microgreens are a superfood loaded with up to 40X the nutrient density of their adult vegetable counterpart. They make for a ridiculously convenient way to get your veggies by just adding a handful to your next meal. At this time, we’re available throughout the Portland, Vancouver and Columbia Gorge through a variety of vendors including the Gorge Farmers Collective (an online farmers market), the Hood River Organic CSA, New Seasons, People’s Co-op, Food Front, Chuck’s, Rosauers, Treebird Family Market, Farmstand, and many more. We’re also on the menu at some fantastic eateries, like Tabor Bread, Thunder Island Brewing, Henni’s, Wicked Burgers & Sushi, and more! Check out all the places we’re available here.
Trout Creek Field, circa 1910
Local Solutions to Local Problems
- More Meaningful, Family Wage Jobs – Skamania County was once thriving due to the logging industry. Today, 67% of income is earned outside of the county. It wasn’t always like this, but since logging isn’t as common as it once was, unemployment and underemployment are very high. New and novel ways of working with wood products and byproducts are essential. With the CHP plant and greenhouses, we expect to provide 16 family wage jobs to start. As the business park develops, more employment opportunities will occur with support from and integration with the WRBU. Meaningful work is about knowing one’s work makes a significant and positive contribution to the greater good: socially, ecologically and economically. The triple bottom line is essential in our business approach.
- Growing Fresh Produce Year Round – Eliminating food waste is one of the easiest ways to save money and the planet. Right now, nearly all of the leafy greens consumed between the months of November and April are trucked in from Arizona or California after having been washed at least three times. Even so, E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks are too common in the leafy greens industry. With aquaponics, there’s no warm-blooded animal fertilizers being used, allowing us to produce fresh, organic produce year-round. Since there’s no soil contact, we won’t be washing the greens which means they’ll last significantly longer in the fridge and you get to eat all the greens you paid for. Gorge Greens is currently building a delicious microgreens farm, and plans on supplying fresh spinach, arugula, mixed greens and heads of lettuce, as well as nutritious herbs for the local markets. As we grow, we’re excited to expand to fruiting crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Efficiently Using Excess Woody Biomass – Open burn piles are wood’s least effective use. At full deployment the WRBU CHP system will utilize 12,000 dry tons of waste wood per year to generate Biochar, kiln-dried firewood, heat and electricity. Efficient end-use of the energy from our system will be optimized by developing the Wind River Business Park, starting with greenhouses for year-round food production. Excess electricity can be sold to the utilities in the regional transmission grid. Each year, WRBU will use less than 25% of the ‘waste’ biomass produced from nearby forest management activities on local federal, state, and private timberlands to generate up to 4 million kWh and 40,000 million BTU (MMBtu) of heat per year, produce 2,400,000 lbs of Biochar, and distribute kiln-dried firewood: 250 cords and 128,000 campfire bundles.
- Turning Food Waste into Resources – Currently, sewers and landfills are receiving the bulk of Skamania County’s food waste. With the growth of breweries and distilleries in the county, every year, we will turn 105 tons of spent grain, lees (the yeasty dregs from brewing), and food scraps into a delicious meal for our native, compost-eating insect, the Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSF). These voracious eaters grow quickly and produce a nutritious meal for both poultry and fish. They, in turn, begin our nutrient cycle inside our aquaponic greenhouses because fish love eating insects. We expect to produce at least 6,000 lbs of fresh, sustainably grown fish every month in our system.