Drax Biomass appoints new leader

By Drax Biomass Inc. | January 07, 2020

Drax Biomass Inc. announced Jan. 6 that Matt White will become its new senior vice president and run Drax’s U.S. biomass operations from its headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana. 

Drax Biomass produces sustainable, compressed wood pellets used to generate flexible, renewable electricity in Drax Power Station in England, delivering carbon savings of more than 80 percent compared to when it used coal.

Drax Biomass uses the port in Baton Rouge/Port Allen and three compressed wood pellet plants: Morehouse BioEnergy in Bastrop, Louisiana; LaSalle BioEnergy in Urania, Louisiana; and Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Mississippi.

The company recently announced plans to increase the amount of biomass it supplies to its own power station in the U.K. from 1.2 million to 5 million metric tons per year.

Will Gardiner, chief executive of Drax Group, said, “I am pleased to welcome Matt to Drax Group. Our purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and the sustainably sourced wood pellets which Drax Biomass makes are crucial to that.

“Using wood pellets as a source of electricity is great for forests because long-term markets for the low-value wood fiber we use encourages replanting and better forest management. It also supports rural communities in Louisiana and Mississippi.”

White said, “This is an exciting time to join Drax Biomass as the business seeks to grow its wood pellet output to 5 million tonnes per year while maintaining a focus on safety and operational excellence. Drax has an impressive commitment to support the communities in which it operates by promoting sustainable forestry and investing in local development, so I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Matt joins Drax from Rockwater Energy (now Select Energy Services), a chemicals and logistics provider to the oil industry where he was Director, Manufacturing & Engineering.

Most of Matt’s career has been in manufacturing management helping organizations, grow, adapt to change and increase safety and efficiency by developing high-performing teams. A mechanical engineer by background, Matt has worked in a number of sectors including air products and chemicals, and with Solvay’s guar/oxide manufacturing.

Reporting to Matt will be:

    •Todd Tolkinen – vice president commercial operations responsible for business development, environment, safety and legal and compliance

    •Jim Stemple – senior director procurement

    •Randy Webster – director of engineering

    •Richard Lamb – vice president operations responsible for our plants and logistics

Key Facts

    •Drax Biomass is a subsidiary of the U.K. energy Drax Group, plc whose purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future.

    •Drax Biomass employs about 190 people in Louisiana and approximately 65 in Mississippi.

    •Drax Biomass has implemented a sustainable approach to doing business. This commitment to sustainability guides every aspect of the company’s operations, from wood sourcing to pellet production to shipment of finished products.