What’s Up With That? — White domes at the port

Photo by Stephanie Landry

You can see it from downtown Baton Rouge, and you can definitely see it when driving across the Mississippi River Bridge.

One of the newer constructions at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge includes two giant white domes that look like they belong at Disney’s EPCOT Center in Orlando. But while they may seem futuristic, these domes contain something that’s been used for energy since the dawn of man: wood.

More specifically, the domes house wood pellets and organic, plant-based materials used for heating and to produce energy. Drax Biomass International operates the storage and loading facilities on about 10 acres of land leased from the port right in the shadow of the bridge. The domes are 145 feet tall and can house 80,000 metric tons of wood pellets once fully complete this summer. The pellets are produced through the state’s timber industry and “will be used as a clean and renewable power resource, primarily in Europe,” according to the port’s 2013 annual report.

Karen St. Cyr, director of public affairs for the port, says the storage facilities will increase the number of ship calls at the port to about 40 new ships annually. portgbr.com

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