Q-Team to turn wood debris into energy

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — A local business owner looks forward to fully researching the many methods for turning organic debris into usable energy.

Robert Fogg, the owner of Q-Team Inc., also known as Cook Tree Services, said the first few steps toward that goal have been completed. Next, he plans to expand his wood-recycling yard on the abutting property behind his business that is located off Route 11.

Those initial steps included purchasing the 18 acres from Naples resident Dan Craffey, as well as getting a zone change on the property he bought last summer.

On Monday, fellow residents supported Fogg’s latest wood-recycling enterprise during the Naples Special Town Meeting, when they voted to change the parcel from a residential to a commercial zone.

Prior to purchasing the tract of land, Fogg owned 10 acres. His business has gone through the process of re-zoning that piece of property as commercial. Any zoning change must be approved by voting residents at town meeting. Also, Fogg acquired a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) allowing him to develop a wood-recycling lot there.

“Now, we want to find ways to use the wood waste on a new venture on the new property,” Fogg said during a phone interview on Tuesday morning.

“Because of our tree and landscaping business, we generate huge amounts of wood waste,” Fogg said.

“The possibilities are mulch, wood pellets, or a wood kiln — as in a lumber kiln,” he said. Generating electricity or producing liquid fuel also tops the list of ideas.

“There are technologies that are just now coming into play that will allow conversion of wood waste into liquid fuel. Those liquid fuels would be a replacement for gas in the car or jet fuel or heating oil,” Fogg said.

“That would be great if we could convert wood waste into fuel,” he said. A different liquid fuel product is the end result, depending on which conversion process is used.

Butanol fuel can be used to replace gasoline in any internal combustion engine. Ethanol, which is already added to gasoline, can be produced from organic debris. Other processes transform wood waste into heating oil that is very similar to diesel; and therefore, can also be used as a fuel for automobiles.

Fogg said his business had “no set time frame” for the potential changes, and it was “taking it one step at the time.”

“I need to finish the research and narrow it down to a single goal,” he said.

Whichever wood-recycling idea Q-Team pursues, the business concept will go before the Naples Planning Board in the future, Fogg said.

Also during Monday’s town meeting, residents unanimously approved a couple of other zoning-related items. Plus, residents moved to finance the repair of the Cupola, which has historical value because it was a section of the Bay of Naples Hotel, and also to set aside money for the replacement of the boiler and heating system in the town office.

One of the zoning amendments was Article 4. The passage of this warrant item paves the way for a public pavilion to be constructed on the Causeway in an area where the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance would normally not permit it.

Naples Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Renee Carter explained, “As everyone knows the road went right through there; and the old road was considered a structure. The state thought it would make more sense to do it this way. It gives us the ability to move the amphitheater there without dealing with setbacks” from the high-water mark.

The amendment would apply “only in that Causeway area, nowhere else in town,” Carter said.

Selectman Rick Parschak spoke prior to the vote. “We have to call it a structure. It is basically four posts with a roof,” he said.

The Causeway Restoration Committee had envisioned a green space with a covered stage for performances, he said. “So the sun doesn’t beat (down) on the musicians, or whatever,” Paraschak said. The structure probably won’t be any bigger than 15 X 15 feet, he said.

The Town of Naples will be ahead of shifting state laws to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance after passing Article 5, which deals with putting in new foundations on shoreland properties.

“Any structure that is close to the water, if you want a new foundation, you have to move it back,” Carter said. “The CEO would walk the homeowner through it” to make certain other setbacks from roads and property are also being met, she said.

In related business, residents approved an amendment to shoreland zoning ordinance, which requires landowners to visit their code enforcement department before cutting any trees or shrubbery.

“Right now, it allows people to cut trees and brush without informing the code enforcement officer. Homeowners don’t realize they have certain regulations they have to follow. We want to try to make it so people come to us before” breaking the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, Carter said.

An audience member asked, “If they don’t already know, how are they going to know” to go to the CEO first? Carter said she planned to hold a seminar for landowners in April. Citizens recommended to Carter that the town conduct a class in the summer to get the information out to seasonal residents. She said she had no problem with offering the course for shoreland homeowners twice.

 

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