Origin selects site in Louisiana for proposed biorefinery

By Erin Voegele | February 23, 2022

Origin Materials Inc. announced on Feb. 16 the company has selected a site in Geismar, Louisiana, for the construction of its proposed Origin 2 facility, which would produce biobased materials and chemicals from wood residues. The company’s first facility, Origin 1, is under development in Sarnia, Ontario, and expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

According to Origin, the Geismar facility aims to produce carbon-negative materials used to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, which is used in packaging, textiles, apparel and other applications. The facility will also produce hydrothermal carbon, which can be used in fuel pellets, as activated carbon, and as a replacement for black carbon.

The plant is currently scheduled to be operational in mid-2025. Once fully operational, the facility would take in an estimated 1 million dry metric tons of wood residues annually as feedstock. A statement released by Louisiana Economic Development indicates that feedstock would be sourced partly from the state’s timber mills and managed forests.

Development of the Geismar project is subject to finalization of economic incentives. Pending state and local incentives are expected to be worth more than $100 million. In addition, a Private Activity Bond volume cap allocation from the State of Louisiana, pending finalization, is expected in the amount of at least $400 million. Private Activity Bonds are tax-exempt bonds authorized by state and local governments for the financing of qualified projects with private capital.

Development of the facility is expected to create 500 construction jobs, 200 local full-time positions, and between 500 and 1,000 indirect local jobs.

“I welcome Origin Materials’ plans for a new facility in Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Their unique process of developing PET products from renewable wood fibers is yet another example of how the global shift toward sustainability can be a catalyst for economic investment and job creation in our state. The company’s carbon-negative mission aligns with our Climate Action Plan’s approach to limiting the severity of climate change while maintaining economic competitiveness in a low-carbon future.”

“Origin is excited to announce this investment in sustainable manufacturing with the Governor of Louisiana,” said John Bissell, co-CEO of Origin. “The local talent is world-class across refining, forestry and agronomy, feedstock logistics, and chemicals. The site sits along the Mississippi River with easy access to barge and rail and plentiful local wood residue feedstock. The proposed incentive package for building in the area is compelling and the local industrial cluster can provide access to hydrogen, ethylene, water treatment and more.”