Geechee Energy announces Georgia pellet project

By Erin Voegele | March 26, 2014

South Carolina-based Geechee Energy LLC has announced plans to build a 360,000-metric-ton-per-year pellet plant near Millen, Ga. The proposed Ogeechee River Pellet Mill project is scheduled to break ground later this year and is expected to be operational by early 2016.

Geechee Energy recently announced an agreement with Jenkins County Development Authority in Georgia to purchase property for the project. Marshall Deutsch, a member of Geechee Energy, told Biomass Magazine that the company is looking at a 75 to 100 acre parcel of land just north of Millen that is adjacent to both highway and rail transportation.

According to Deutsch, the proposed facility will take in mill residue, forest residue and roundwood logs as feedstock. He noted that the company does have feedstock agreements in place, but is unable to disclose details on those agreements at this time.

Financing for the project is still pending, but Deutsch indicated the company is confident about the financing options currently on the table.

The mill will feature traditional pellet production technology. “We are going to position ourselves to be good incorporators of well-established technology, Deutsch said, adding that the company is also open to incorporating new technologies, such as torrefaction, as they become not only available, but commercially viable. He said that the company intends to be as flexible as a manufacturer can be with regard to the incorporation of new proven technologies in order to meet customer needs.

Once operational, the mill will primarily sell its product into the European market. Geechee Energy also intends to set aside a small percentage of its production to sell into the domestic market, either bagged or bulk.

The Ogeechee River Pellet Mill is the first facility to be developed by Geechee Energy, but the company could expand its operations in the future. “We think that getting into this market in a stable way will open the opportunity for us to look at other medium-sized pellet mills,” Deutsch said, adding that there may also be potential to develop smaller-scale mills that feature more innovative technologies in the future.

Geechee Energy has been analyzing opportunities to energy the green energy sector for approximately five years. “We found the pellet market to be one in which a small- to medium-sized player can still participate,” Deutsch said. “In very few other green energy fields is there space for a small entity or startup entity like ours to become involved in the process, just because of the large capital requirements of most other green technologies.”