More Pellets at our Ports

By Anna Simet | December 14, 2012

This week, Drax Group announced plans to build two monster pellet plants in the U.S., one in southwestern Mississippi and the other in northeastern Louisiana.

Amite BioEnergy will be located in Gloster, Miss., and Morehouse BioEnergy in Morehouse Parish, La. Both are expected to start full operations in 2014, with a combined annual capacity of 900,000 metric tons of biomass pellets.

Something that has always made me scratch my head when I read about companies from other countries building here and shipping our resources overseas is: why in the world aren’t WE utilizing more of our own resources? Then I remember the obvious, which is that there isn’t a commercial market here….yet. If the day ever comes where we pass some federal renewable legislation or carbon laws, will that provoke some stiff competition for our resources? Not just domestically, but from those companies from other countries who have had the right incentives for a long while, and have already rooted in at our ports near our wood baskets?

Just a thought. If you have any insight on that, feel free to share.

Back to the main story, it’s a great thing for the economies of Mississippi and Louisiana—$200 million in combined investments—particularly the job-creating aspect. Over 105 direct jobs are expected, and then of course all of the indirect jobs for loggers, truckers, etc.

In connection with these plans, in November, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge approved a lease with Drax to build three storage domes plus unloading conveyors on 10 acres of port property, which brings me to the topic of an article I’m planning for the February issue of Biomass Magazine: innovation in handling and storage technologies when it comes to pellet production, focusing in particular on export operations.

If this sounds up your company’s alley, send me an email to tell me what you’re doing.