The Port of Wilmington’s skyline will soon be changing. The first of two Enviva wood pellet storage domes will be raised late this week, possibly as early as this Thursday – if the weather holds.
It’ll happen overnight. Crews will cover the dome’s foundation with polyester roofing material, which will form the outer shell of the wood pellet storage container. It takes just six hours to inflate the structure, like a hot air balloon, to its full size. Then, the much lengthier process of reinforcing the dome with steel and concrete begins.
Enviva cofounder Norb Hintz says the domes will stand as a symbol of economic growth:
"The domes are 170 feet in diameter, roughly the same in height, at their apex. The domes are located roughly 2,500 feet away from the four new storage cargo cranes that were installed in 2007. For reference, those cranes with their boom extended stand roughly 350 tall, and our domes will be roughly half that tall."
The second dome will be inflated in about six weeks, and the dome construction will be completed by early next year. Starting in the spring, Enviva will begin shipping the wood pellets to the United Kingdom, where they will be burned as an alternative energy source.