General Biofuels to construct pellet plant in Ga.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that General Biofuels Georgia LLC will construct a wood pellet manufacturing plant in Sandersville investing $60 million and creating 35 jobs.
“We are committed to making Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business and a central plank in our strategy is to boost the manufacturing sector,” said Deal. “Our state is uniquely equipped to help manufacturers compete globally and efficiently meet the needs of their customers. So, I am especially glad to welcome General Biofuels to Georgia.”
The plant will manufacture industrial-grade wood pellets for sale to a major European utility under a long-term contract. Capacity of the plant will be approximately 440,000 tons per year. Start of production is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.
“Sandersville is an ideal setting for our pellet production facility. The timber resources are abundant, the workforce is capable and motivated and the transportation system from Sandersville to the Port of Savannah will be tremendously advantageous. We look forward to joining the Washington County business community,” said founder and chairman for General Biofuels Ruby Sahiwal.
Renewable feedstock will come from Georgia timberlands and local lumber producers. Pellets from the plant will be loaded into railcars for transport by the Sandersville Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway to the Port of Savannah for intermediate storage and trans-load to ocean-going ships.
“We are very excited to have General Biofuels join the Washington County business community and for the Sandersville Railroad to provide long-term rail transportation services,” said Executive Director of the Development Authority of Washington County Charles Lee. “This project offers manufacturing jobs to the Washington County region and will provide long-term, stable employment in the timber harvesting, manufacturing, transportation sectors, and increase exports through the Port of Savannah.”
Project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development was Renée Rosenheck. The Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy also played a significant role in the location by introducing the company to Georgia as an attractive biomass industry destination. Co-director Jill Stuckey connected General Biofuels with the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Economic Development and other state resources. The company also participated in the Center’s One Stop Shop to present its project.
“General Biofuels’ location to Sandersville is great news for central Georgia,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Cummiskey. “The biofuels industry in Georgia is growing by leaps and bounds. We have more commercial timberland than any other state in the country, as well as the workforce and the logistics infrastructure needed to move the product quickly and efficiently to market.”
Energy is one of the six industries identified for growth in Georgia. Georgia’s entrepreneur-friendly policies, reduced taxes on bioscience energy companies and expedited environmental permits for biofuel plants are among a few reasons why the state is ranked third in the United States for its future in alternative energy production. The state is No. 1 in the nation for commercial timberland, with 10 million acres of agricultural land and 24.7 million acres of forest land. Georgia also has an established “brain trust” of university research and development in bioenergy, with world-renowned programs at the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, a $150-million-dollar nonprofit research center focused on biomass commercialization.