The timber products industry in Western Washington has generated massive amounts of waste cedar wood that are too hazardous for landfill disposal. Currently more than 100,000 tons of the highly flammable by-product are sitting in waste piles in Grays Harbor County alone. Northwest Quality Products, Aberdeen, has a plan and a process for extracting two viable products from this waste — a wood-oil preservative and aromatic oils that impart the cedar scent to consumer products such as candles and soap.
Ron Lunnum, founder of the company, wanted to optimize the distillation method for production on a larger scale. Washington Technology Center introduced him to John Gerdes, a researcher with expertise in organic chemistry at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. The two are collaborating on an Entrepreneur’s Access project to further develop the refining process. Upon completion, Northwest Quality Products plans to operate a processing plant in Grays Harbor County and employ up to 50 workers in this economically depressed region.
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