ConocoPhillips, Enviva to build torrefied wood pellet plant

By Anna Austin | November 21, 2011

Global energy giant ConocoPhillips has partnered with U.S. wood pellet manufacturer Enviva LP to build a torrefied wood pellet plant under the company name Eco Biomass Technologies.

The partnership is a 50/50 joint venture, according to Enviva spokeswoman Elizabeth Woodworth. Enviva will be responsible for the operations, maintenance and fiber sourcing at the facility, she said. It will employ a combination of proprietary and acquired existing technologies.

While the plant is slated to begin operations in 2013, its location is currently being finalized, as well as its size, according to Woodworth. Enviva’s current facilities range from 100,000 to 450,000 tons per year.

 “ConocoPhillips is an internationally recognized leader in mid-stream energy applications and has an excellent reputation for energy innovations and technologies,” Woodworth said. “Enviva is the leader in renewable woody biomass fuel for energy applications. The partnership brings together complementary expertise and industry knowledge, which will bring a much-anticipated renewable fuel alternative to market and to scale.”

Besides the partnership with ConocoPhillips, Enviva operates a wood pellet manufacturing plant in Belgium, two in Mississippi, and has several others in various stages of development throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The company reports that its total annual production capacity will reach 750,000 metric tons by the end of 2011, most of which will be shipped overseas for use by European utilities.

Eco Biomass will sell its torrefied wood pellets through agreements with major power utilities, and has plans to expand its production capabilities significantly over the coming years.