Construction of Point BioEnergy’s Port Allen/Port of Greater Baton Rouge wood pellet facility is scheduled to begin at the end of 1Q2012. Point Bioenergy recently announced that it has contracted with the Conti Group to design and build the plant, which will produce 400,000 metric tons of wood pellets annually*. The plant should begin delivering pellets to Europe in 2Q2013 under a 10-year deal with an unnamed European utility. The company also has signed letters of intent with local and regional suppliers to deliver pulpwood to the facility for the next 10-20 years.
Westervelt Renewable Energy began construction of its Aliceville, Alabama wood pellet facility at the end of October. The plant will begin producing pellets by the end of 2012. Initial capacity is planned at 250,000 metric tons, though this will be expandable to 500,000 metric tons. The facility will consume southern yellow pine.
Enviva LP continues to forge new ground in the bioenergy space. Its latest announcements include :
- A 454,000 metric ton wood pellet plant in Courtland, Virginia. While this additional capacity is contingent on the property being rezoned and the acquisition of required permits, the plant is currently scheduled to be operational by 1H2013. This additional capacity will bring Enviva’s total to 1.5 million metric tons of pellets annually. The company’s 350,000 metric ton facility in Ahoskie, North Carolina is already operational, and a nearby 400,000 metric ton facility in Northampton County is under development.
- A joint venture with ConocoPhillips to produce torrefied wood pellets. While no location has been chosen for this enterprise, the companies did indicate their first facility would be operational in 2013.
Vern Wood Products will build an 80,000 metric ton wood pellet facility at its Hoboken, Georgia sawmill. Construction will begin in 2Q2012 and will be operational by the end of 2012. The company intends to export its output and will increase plant capacity to 120,000 metric tons if demand is sufficient. The plant will use wastewood from its sawmill as feedstock.
On the infrastructure front, the Port of Eastport in Maine is nearing completion of its expansion, which was undertaken to serve wood pellet manufacturers exporting product to Europe. The port infrastructure improvements include deeper berth and approach channels, a bulk storage yard and a bidirectional conveyor. When this phase is complete, the port will be able to handle wood chip exports, and with the completion of the second phase—the addition of automated pellet storage—the facility will be able to handle wood pellet exports. When the second phase is complete, Eastport will be the first port in the Northeast US capable of handling pellet exports.
*(1 metric ton or 1 tonne = 1.1 tons)
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